LL Bean Struggles to Meet Growing Boot Demand

Boots are back ordered through March

L.L. Bean has just added a third shift at its factory in Brunswick, Maine, in an attempt to keep up with demand for its iconic boot.

Orders have quadrupled in the past few years as the boots have become more popular among a younger, more urban crowd.

The company says it saw the trend coming and tried to prepare, but orders outpaced projections. They expect to sell 450,000 pairs of boots in 2014.

People hoping to have the boots in time for Christmas are likely going to be disappointed. The boots are back ordered through February and even March.

"I've been told it's a good problem to have but I"m disappointed that customers not getting
what they want as quickly as they want," said Senior Manufacturing Manager Royce Haines.

Customers like, Mary Clifford, tried to order boots on line, but they were back ordered until January.

"I was very surprised this is what they are known for and at Christmas time you can't get them when you need them," said Clifford.

People who do have boots are trying to capitalize on the shortage and are selling them on Ebay at a much higher cost.

L.L. Bean says it has hired dozens of new boot makers, but it takes up to six months to train someone to make a boot.

The company has also spent a million dollars on new equipment to try and keep pace with demand.

Some customers are having luck at the retail stores. They have a separate inventory, and while sizes are limited, those stores have boots on the shelves.

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