As the Chinese economy skyrockets and the populace gets ever more upwardly mobile, one thing's for sure: They're going to want to get outside. Classic outdoor retailer L.L. Bean hopes to supply their needs by opening a 3,000-square-foot store this month in Beijing's Solana Mall. Five new store openings across China will follow.
Beijing's smashing Olympic success practically ensures that Chinese culture will continue to celebrate and pursue outdoor activities, and that could be a sweet thing for China's great outdoors: If more people become engaged in outdoor sports, there's a better chance they could become advocates for reversing China's abysmal environmental record. Then again, Big Red has never been much for listening to advocates of any kind.
3,000 square feet might sound pretty big, but it hardly holds a candle to the 96-year-old retailer's flagship store in Freeport, Maine. Our man spent 24 hours roaming the L.L. Bean flagship's 160,000-acre wilderness of gear. Find out if he survived here.
— Ted Alvarez