Freeport, ME-based retailer L.L. Bean hasn’t kept up with orders of its signature “Bean boot” and many customers who’ve ordered for Christmas won’t receive their goods until as late as February, the company confirmed to the Portland Press Herald Thursday.
The retailer is processing 60,000 orders for the boots, which come in various styles and upper materials, and expects another 40,000 orders by year’s end. Many stores do have them in stock, the company says.
The retailer says it’s waiting on a new piece of Italian manufacturing equipment that could help speed up orders, but is worried that many customers will end up canceling their orders. The company is also adding shifts at a couple of factories in Maine.
L.L. Bean has manufactured and sold its iconic “Bean boot” in various iterations for more than a century, but it has recently gained new popularity among teenagers and college students. The boots have rubber bottoms and leather uppers, come in ankle and higher boot styles, and are lined with a variety of warming interiors like Thinsulate, Gore-Tex, and shearling.
“We are ramping up production and working as hard as we can to fill the orders for Bean Boots,” Carolyn Beem told the Press Herald. “These boots have been functional and fashionable since 1912. We are thrilled with the popularity of the boot.”
“Fashionable” is a relative term, of course — the boots have long been worn by outdoor types mostly unconcerned about fashion, though women’s footwear designer Manolo Blahnik last year reportedly requested a pair last year when New York City’s ice and snow got the best of him, which only added to the boot’s popularity.
The company says it was caught off-guard by the boot’s popularity, although it has been quite in demand for at least a year. In any case, it’s terrible position to be in at the holidays, especially with winter weather here or fast approaching in many areas.