U.S. retail giant L.L.Bean opening Victoria store in late summer

U.S. retailer L.L. Bean plans to open a store in Mayfair ­shopping centre in late ­summer as it expands its brick-and-mortar presence in the Canadian ­market.

The company is also opening a store in Burnaby at the Amazing Brentwood shopping mall, one of four stores it’s launching in Canada by year’s end, along with outlets in Calgary and ­Dartmouth, N.S.

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L.L. Bean’s Canadian website said the Mayfair store will open in August and the Burnaby store will open in October.

The 108-year-old company sells outdoor-themed clothing and gear. Its headquarters are in Maine.

L.L. Bean, which is known for its print and online catalogues, opened its first retail store in Canada in 2019 in Oakville, Ont. With its partner the Jaytex Group, it continued expanding last year by opening stores in Barrie, Ottawa and Toronto. The company is launching new stores following 100 per cent growth in its customer base last year, it said in a Thursday statement.

Despite the pandemic, the company saw strong performance in the Canadian market, said Howie Kastner, Jaytex Group president.

“This continued success speaks to the inherent love of the outdoors and eagerness for new adventures that Canadian customers share with the brand. We look forward to continuing to explore opportunities across Canada and support this growing customer base.”

Safety protocols at L.L. Bean stores include requiring face coverings in all stores, increased sanitation, social distancing, plexiglass barriers at checkout and the option for curbside service, the company said.

Vancouver retail consultant David Ian Gray of Dig360 Consulting said in-store shopping might be changing, “but it’s not going anywhere.”

While the pandemic has left some retail space vacant, the best locations are always in demand by domestic or global retailers, Gray said.

L.L. Bean is a good fit for Canada, where many residents are already familiar with its products, he said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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