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LL Bean announced on Friday that it will begin selling wholesale in the US, distributing a selection of its products to Nordstrom, Staples and Scheels, a sporting goods chain.

LL Bean backpacks and water bottles will be available at Staples in time for back-to-school sales, and the iconic Bean Boot, in a variety of styles, will be one of the items available at Nordstrom, both in-store and online.

The Associated Press reports that "the move is not unprecedented for the 108-year-old retailer: L.L. Bean inked an agreement in 2018 to sell products in Sporting Life, Hudson’s Bay and Mountain Equipment Co-Op stores in Canada. The company also reached an agreement three years ago to expand sales in Japan beyond company-branded stores."

The AP story quotes Charlie Bruder, LL Bean's vice president for merchandising, as saying that the retailer "believes its products are underrepresented in the marketplace and that there’s an opportunity to expand while other retailers contract."

KC's View:

Smart move.  LL Bean has been in expansionist mode, but this allows it to expand its footprint with less risk, which makes sense at a time when the whole shopping infrastructure is being challenged by events.