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The Associated Press December 29, 2011, 12:36PM ET

LL Bean boot gets a kick from retro trend

L.L. Bean's duck boot is seeing a surge in popularity as its 100th birthday approaches.

The Maine-based retailer says demand for the iconic boot with leather upper and rubber sole is being driven partly by its popularity at colleges.

Another reason is new styles including something Leon Leonwood Bean surely never envisioned when he created a waterproof boot in 1912: bright blue and pink boots aimed at women.

L.L. Bean says sales have grown from 150,000 pairs four years ago to about 400,000 this year. And the company believes demand will grow to half a million in the new year.

The company has had trouble keeping up with demand and is in the process of hiring 125 additional workers at its manufacturing plant in Maine.

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