LL Bean to open first store in China this month

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LL Bean will open its first of five stores in China this month as part of a joint venture with Youngone Corp. of Korea. This represents the first time the outdoor outfitter's products will be available to consumers in China through retail.

"Throughout China there is a growing interest in participating in outdoor and recreational activities,” said Chris McCormick, president and CEO of LL Bean, in a statement. “LL Bean is a natural fit within this market. This is an area we have been studying for some time as we've considered ways to expand our international presence and diversify our business. China provides many opportunities with their growing marketplace."

The store will be located in Solana Mall, an open air mall in Beijing. It will have approximately 3,000 square feet of retail space and a similar design and layout as the company's flagship store in Freeport, ME. The design makes use of natural lighting and weathered timbers to create an outdoor atmosphere, and will feature company heritage photos and displays focusing on outdoor recreation. Product offerings will include men's, women's and children's outdoor apparel and footwear, as well as luggage and some outdoor sporting goods products, such as hiking and camping equipment.

The store's grand opening will be supported with special events and archival displays of vintage products and photographs reflecting the heritage of the company.

LL Bean plans to open an additional four stores in China this year through its partnership with Youngone Corp., which Zane Shatzer, GM of international marketing at LL Bean, said, “has broad experience in retail operations and in building brands in China,” in a statement.

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