Retailing is a curious business. While many companies are moving to control their destinies, opening their own stores and restricting distribution of their products to third-parties, others are going in the opposite direction. One such outlier is L.L. Bean, the famed outdoor goods company which announced it would begin selling some of its products through other retailers, including Nordstrom and Staples.
I get that they want to boost sales and that selling through others means they don’t have to further build out their network of 54 stores they currently operate. But with the retail picture radically changing, mall traffic dropping and so many brands going direct to consumers this move is a little puzzling in the long run. Maybe I won’t go so far as to say it’s Stupid, but I question whether it’s smart.
Here’s my take on this in a new Forbes.com post: https://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenshoulberg/2020/07/19/as-brands-go-direct-to-consumer-ll-bean-moves-the-other-way/#2309a093f393