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Build-A-Bear Workshop posts Q4 loss; to unveil new store design


St. Louis -- Build-A-Bear Workshop reported a loss of $9 million for the fourth quarter, down from a profit of $8.3 million in the year-ago period. Total revenue dropped 5% to $119 million. The company said its profit and revenue took a hit when two movies it important product tie-ins with underperformed.

In a conference call with analysts, Build-A-Bear CEO Maxine Clark said she was very disappointed by the fourth quarter results after sales increases in the second and third quarters. She noted that Build-A-Bear's key holiday products were related to the movies "Happy Feet Two" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," which did not fare as well as expected at the box office. The chain subsequently stepped up promotions in the fourth quarter to try to make up for the lower-than-expected sales.

On the call, Clark said the company is set to debut a new store design, with five stores to be retrofitted to the new look.

Build-A-Bear will also close 15 to 20 stores in North America to right size its portfolio, she said, with most of the locations in markets where the company already has other stores.

The company also plans to relocate 15 stores to reduce square footage and to open four to six new stores in North America.

On the international front, the company plans to add 10 to 12 more franchised stores this year, net of store closings.

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