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L.L. Bean is laying off employees and reducing call center hours due to online shopping

A courtyard at the new L.L. Bean headquarters in Freeport with multi-story windows that allow for more natural light.
Patty Wight
/
Maine Public
A courtyard at the new L.L. Bean headquarters in Freeport with multi-story windows that allow for more natural light.

L.L. Bean is laying off employees as it cuts back hours at its call center.

The Freeport-based retailer announced the change last week, saying that call center hours would be reduced to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., as a response to fewer customer calls. The hours on the company's website are currently listed as 7 a.m. to 11 p.m..

"As more of our customers choose self-service and shop through our digital and retail channels, customer contacts have declined over the last four years," the company wrote in an internal message.

"In addition, nearly 90% of Direct Channel (web and phone) orders are now placed on llbean.com and over 90% of inbound customer calls occur between 8am to 8pm. Simply put, L.L.Bean customers shop differently today than in the past and we must adapt," the company said.

L.L. Bean said the move is a "strategic response to long-term customer trends," and not part of any larger cuts.

A spokesperson said that a "large majority" of the more than 500 employees in the call center won't be affected and that the company is offering severance, outplacement services and retiree benefits to staff who are eligible.