March 17, 2011, 2:39 PM

L.L. Bean’s 2010 online sales grow 29%

The retailer posted a 5.7% jump in net sales, the first increase in two years.

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L.L. Bean Inc.’s 2010 web sales grew by 29% in 2010, when Internet orders topped catalog orders for the first time, the company says. The company did not break out web sales figures.

For the fiscal year ended Feb. 27, L.L. Bean reported $1.44 billion in total sales, a 5.7% jump from about $1.36 billion in 2009 and the first increase the retailer has posted in two years.

”The initiatives we put in place and the significant investments we made in our business have paid off, even in the midst of a slow economic recovery,” says Chris McCormick, CEO of L.L. Bean, No. 24 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.

The cataloger says sporting equipment sales were at their highest level ever, with boating, camping and cycling products experiencing the greatest growth.

The growth was enough for L.L. Bean to announce its plans to award a cash bonus of 5% of annual pay to approximately 5,000 eligible employees. “We had a challenging spring season, but a very strong peak holiday season, giving us great momentum heading into January and February, which remained strong,” McCormick says. “Our employees really pulled together to manage the high volume, while delivering excellent customer service.”

In 2010, L.L. Bean added one new store in New York, one in Japan and 33 in China.

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