Looking to Cut Staff, L.L. Bean Dangles Retirement Package

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L.L. Bean, Freeport, ME, announced a voluntary retirement incentive package last week for 500 of its 4,300 regular employees, attributing it to soft sales and no sign of improvement.


"Current sales trends have prompted us to take a hard look at long-term staffing needs," Bob Peixotto, chief operations officer at L.L. Bean, said in a statement. "Given our expectations for sales in 2003, it is clear that at current levels, our organization is overstaffed."


L.L. Bean experienced soft sales in 2002, the statement said, and lowered its expectations for the fall and holiday selling seasons.


"We think that an early retirement plan has the potential to help mitigate the need for individual job cuts later on," Peixotto said. "We ... hoped to avoid a workforce reduction event by reducing the size of the organization over time, and through normal attrition. While we do not expect the early retirement program to eliminate the need for future job cuts, we are hopeful it will help minimize the impact."


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