‘We must adapt’: L.L. Bean announces layoffs, reduced call center hours, citing online shopping

‘We must adapt’: L.L. Bean announces layoffs, reduced call center hours, citing online shopping


The Maine-based company plans to change its call center hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., a reduction of four hours daily. That will also mean a reduction in workforce, though how many layoffs is unclear.

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L.L. Bean has announced it will lay off workers and reduce the hours of its customer call centers, a response to what the company says is more people shopping online.

Beginning July 15, the outerwear clothing and equipment company plans to change its call center hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., a reduction of four hours a day from the current hours of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. With the shift changes, the company announced last week that it would be reducing its workforce.

“As more of our customers choose self-service and shop through our digital and retail channels, customer contacts have declined over the last four years,” the company said in a statement, adding that more than 90% of its customer calls come in from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Simply put, L.L. Bean customers shop differently today than in the past and we must adapt,” the company said. “Unfortunately, this does result in a reduction in staff. Impacting people’s jobs and schedules is never a decision L.L. Bean makes lightly, and we will be offering impacted employees severance, outplacement services and, for those who are eligible, company retiree benefits.”

The company said that “these changes are not a reaction to current business conditions or part of a larger workforce reduction, but rather a strategic response to long-term customer trends.”

How many employees is L.L. Bean planning to lay off?

L.L Bean spokesman Jason Sulham told USA TODAY on Tuesday that the retailer is still working to determine how many employees would be laid off.

“We don’t have an exact number yet as we are working to manage through severance-eligible voluntary departures and retirements with company benefits,” Sulham said. “This was just announced internally at the end of last week, so it will be some time before we feel confident in providing numbers.”

What states are going to be the most affected by the layoffs?

Sulham said most of L.L. Bean’s call center employees work remotely outside the company’s headquarters in Maine.

Does L.L. Bean plan on closing any stores in 2024?

Though Sulham declined to say whether the outerwear retail store plans to close any stores this year, he said the company does have plans to open more.

“We are actually planning on opening four stores this year and continue to invest in retail expansion, bringing the unique L.L. Bean in-person shopping experience to more of our customers,” Sulham said.

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Has L.L. Bean laid off employees in the past?

L.L. Bean laid off about 200 people in 2020, and in 2021 it closed a call center in Lewiston, Maine, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The company also closed call centers in Bangor, Waterville and Oxford, Maine, according to Mainebiz.

Ahjané Forbes is a reporter on the National Trending Team at USA TODAY. Ahjané covers breaking news, car recalls, crime, health, lottery and public policy stories. Email her at aforbes@gannett.com. Follow her on InstagramThreads and X @forbesfineest.

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