Pendleton Woolen Mills Is Selling Plenty of Blankets to Homebound Oregonians—and One Sweater

Sales of women’s sizes of Jeffrey Lebowski’s cardigan tripled during the pandemic.


Sector spending increase: 9.1%

Little surprise that Portlanders have been cuddling up in wool blankets during the pandemic. But COVID-19 has also inspired people to buy luxury pet beds and dress like the Dude in The Big Lebowski.

As the home linens market rises nationwide, a prime beneficiary in Oregon is Pendleton Woolen Mills, one the state's most iconic brands. The Portland-based company's apparel sales are down, but its cozy wool blankets are selling at quadruple prepandemic rates. A similar trend applies to pet beds: Those pandemic puppies have to sleep somewhere.

"Pendleton's web business has been robust, and has exceeded our sales budgets and forecasts," says Bob Christnacht, the company's executive vice president of sales and marketing. The bad news? "Our apparel stores are challenged with less traffic due to the pandemic."

Yet one piece of clothing defies the trend, selling better than ever: the cream-colored, lambswool Westerley Cardigan, best known as the sweater worn by Jeff Bridges' titular character in The Big Lebowski.

Here are the Pendleton products that saw the biggest increase in sales year over year.

National Park Blankets: 

4x the rate of last year

Eco-Wise Washable Wool Blankets: 

3x the rate of last year

National Park Dog Beds: 

3x the rate of last year

Spa Towels: 

3x the rate of last year

Westerley Cardigan: 

3x the rate of last year for women's sizes, 2x for men's

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