PORTLAND, Maine — L.L. Bean will open its second retail store west of the Mississippi in November, joining an active market for outdoor equipment retailers in Denver, Colorado.
The company announced its first western expansion, to Minnesota’s Mall of America, last week. The 13,000-square-foot Colorado store will employ about 80 people in Denver’s Park Meadows Retail Resort, according to a company statement.
Mac McKeever, a spokesman for the company, said after the announcement of the Minnesota store that the move is part of the company’s strategy of “omnichannel” retail, a comprehensive approach to reaching customers that doesn’t choose either brick-and-mortar stores or only online sales.
“What we’re trying to do is make it easier for people to buy what they want and when they want it in the channel that’s optimal for them,” McKeever said.
While some customers choose to shop on a smartphone, others want to dog-ear the pages of a store catalog. Some just want to come into the store to see a product for themselves, whether they buy it in the store or not.
“Opening more retail stores gives people the experience in 3-D,” McKeever said.
The new stores include the company’s Outdoor Discovery School, which offers demonstrations of its equipment and schedules clinics on outdoor activities such as kayaking and fly fishing.
The expansions are paired with new investment in the company’s e-commerce systems. The company announced in March that it would invest $100 million in technology improvements this year and would ultimately announce four store expansions. The company has announced three so far: in Colorado, Minnesota and Burlington, Vermont.
The 102-year-old company’s sales hit a record high last year of $1.56 billion.
Each of the three new stores announced so far are scheduled to open in November, just before the retailer’s busy holiday season.