Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not a Merry Christmas for Build-A-Bear

Things aren't going so well for retailer Build-A-Bear, and it looks like the Christmas selling season won't look so good either.

Build-A-Bear Considers Change at Top has the details:

"All is not well in the toy shop this Christmas.

Perennial kids party destination and one-time hot IPO Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. has sounded out recruiters on finding a possible corner-office replacement for founder and Chief Executive Maxine Clark amid a string of disappointing results, people familiar with the matter said. . . .

Ms. Clark, reached Thursday morning, said she isn't being replaced.

The company raised $150 million in a 2004 initial public offering, touting itself as the only national chain where you could "make your own stuffed animal." But the stock, which debuted at $20 a share, has since had the stuffing knocked out of it, most recently trading under $4.

The company in late October reported a surprise loss for its fiscal third quarter, as sales at outlets open at least a year slumped 11%. Revenue in the first nine months of the company's year fell to $262.8 million from $275.2 million a year earlier, and the company's loss widened to $13 million from $8 million.

Ms. Clark said at the time the results were disappointing. Build-A-Bear, she said, was hurt by competition from the Smurfs.

Ms. Clark founded the company in 1997. The St. Louis-based chain of stuff-your-own-animal stores has grown to 400 retail locations world-wide, though the company is now closing stores in the U.S....

If the company does decide to name a new CEO, the person will have to have a strong taste for cute.

In press releases and on the company's website, Ms. Clark is referred to as "Chief Executive Bear." The company recently hired a new Chief Merchandise Bear. Its general counsel is, yes, Chief Bearrister."

Summing Up

I have no bigger point to make.

Just wanted to share the Build-A-Bear saga with you.

Sounds like the Chief Executive Bear has some problems with the Smurfs.

Oh well, that's just the way of business, even for 'bears.'

Thanks. Bob.

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