Times Staff and Wire Reports

L. L. Bean Takes Cost-Cutting Steps: Lower-than-expected fall sales and increased mailing costs have prompted L. L. Bean to institute a hiring freeze, cut operating budgets and delay a major expansion of its retail store for at least a year. And in an effort to boost sales, L. L. Bean will run television advertisements in selected markets nationwide for the first time ever this holiday season. The company, one of the country's largest catalogue retailers, is struggling with $25 million in extra catalogue distribution expenses this year related to higher paper and postal prices. The distribution costs have increased by more than 20% this year, L. L. Bean spokeswoman Catharine Hartnett said.

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