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Build-A-Bear builds back profits

Build-A-Bear Workshop has recorded its third consecutive year of increased profit.

CEO Sharon Price John has attributed the ongoing improvement in the once-challenged children’s experiential workshop concept to initiatives including store remodelling in the new Discovery format, which generated double-digit growth compared to our heritage stores, focusing on key consumer segments and investing in infrastructure.

“We made steady progress toward our stated long-term sales productivity goals as we achieved the highest average transaction value in our history and highest units per transaction since 2008. We remain committed to the ongoing disciplined execution of our strategy while we continue to leverage our powerful brand in order to deliver both sales and profit improvement,” she said.

In the 52 weeks to January 2, 2016, Build-A-Bear achieved total revenues of US$377.7 million, compared to $392.4 million in the previous financial year (which had 53 weeks, hence the higher figure).

Same store sales rose 1 per cent – growth was flat in North America, but increased 4.8 per cent in Europe, and online sales rose 11.8 per cent.

The company’s retail gross margin expanded 150 basis points to 47.1 per cent compared to 45.6 per cent in the previous year. Pre-tax profit  improved 11.7 per cent to $17.9 million.

During 2015, the company closed 20 stores and opened 25 locations, including 11 in its new Discovery format, to end the year with 329 Company-owned stores; 269 in North America and 60 in Europe. The company’s international franchisees ended the year with 77 stores in 11 countries.

In June this year, Build-A-Bear Workshop will open a new store in the new Disneytown retail precinct at the Shanghai Disney Resort in China.

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