The major Maine outdoor retailer reported a flat annual revenue.

Despite a year of significant changes — from flat revenue to employee bonus cuts to a revised return policy — L.L.Bean is investing in its future by opening five more storefronts this year.

One of the most critical changes in the retailer’s 106 years was scaling back its 100 percent satisfaction guarantee policy. Tired of being taken advantage, it imposed a one-year limit on returns of most products and rid of free shipping for orders less than $50.

"The overall customer response to the change in the return policy has been positive and supportive," said Carolyn Beem, L.L.Bean's senior manager of public affairs.

The iconic Maine-based outdoor retailer recently announced net sales of $1.6 billion for its most recent fiscal year ending late February — flat compared to the year before.

To cut costs, the company decided to eliminate workers bonuses for the first time since 2008 and plans to cut about 100 positions across the company as they rebalance work.

Last year, L.L.Bean started offering an enhanced retirement program to eligible employees. Beem said they had until this February to decide, and 500 employees took advantage. She also said they plan to backfill about 200 positions across the company.

L.L.Bean opened six new stores in 2017, bringing the total outside Maine to 35 stores.

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On April 16, L.L.Bean sent off the first of 43 pairs of employees relay-style hiking the Appalachian Trail through August. Once the relay is over, collectively the teams will have passed through 14 states and by 20 L.L.Bean stores along the 2,180 miles. Their hike coincides with ...read more