L.L. Bean To Cut 300 Employees

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L.L. Bean will eliminate 300 jobs from its regular work force within two months, the company said yesterday.


L.L. Bean announced several weeks ago that more than 200 employees had accepted an early retirement package offered to more than 500 employees in November. The company employs about 4,300 year-round workers in Maine, where most of the eliminations will take place.


President/CEO Chris McCormick cited declining prices, "especially in the retail apparel sector," budgeting of annual wage increases and escalating healthcare costs as reasons for the layoffs. Other factors mentioned include a shift in order volume from the telephone to the Internet and the elimination of the Freeport Studio apparel division.


The company described 2002 as being a solid year financially, with improved results over 2001.


Other factors McCormick cited included the "highly competitive and price deflationary retail environment." Still, he credited a free-shipping promotion as having "returned one of the strongest Decembers in our history."


Those terminated will receive four weeks transition pay plus a minimum of one week's pay for each year of service with the company, and those described as "long service employees" will receive extra severance in recognition of their time with the company.


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