March 4, 2013, 10:52 AM

The web grows for Build-A-Bear while total sales drop

Web sales grow 15% in Q4 as the retailer closes stores.

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Web sales were the lone bright spot for Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. in 2012 and the year’s fourth quarter. In 2013 the retailer of personalized teddy bears says it plans to close 50-60 retail stores and refocus on brand messaging in its marketing programs while improving user experience. Build-A-Bear is No. 538 in Internet Retailer Second 500 guide.

For the fiscal year ended Dec. 29, Build-A-Bear reported:

  • Web sales were $14.23 million, an increase of about 7.6% from $13.22 million in the 2011 fiscal year.
  • Total sales were $374.55 million, down by 3.2% from $387.04 million.
  • Comparable-store sales decreased 3.3%.
  • Net loss was $49.3 million, compared with a net loss of $17.1 million in 2011.

“While we are disappointed with our overall results, in the fourth quarter, we increased comparable-store sales in North America, showing a marked improvement from the third quarter,” says Maxine Clark, CEO of Build-A-Bear. “This increase was driven by the initial benefit of our brand-building marketing campaigns, particularly in the U.S., and a return to traditional holiday product offerings. The U.K. remained challenging, which drove down our consolidated comparable-store sales.”

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 29, Build-a-Bear reported:

  • Web sales were $6.66 million, an increase of about 14.8% from $5.80 million in Q4 2011.
  • Total sales decreased 0.85%, to $116.1 million from $117.1 million.
  • Comparable-store sales decreased 1.7%.
  • A net loss of $36.48 million compared with a net loss of $8.99 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.
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