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Build-A-Bear Workshop updating store format, business model


St. Louis -- Build-A-Bear Workshop continues the transformation of its store experience — and business.

The specialty retailer on Tuesday debuted its updated store design at Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minnesota. Part of a company-wide brand refresh, the reformatted location was developed to increase productivity and optimize space while updating the brand’s overall brand look. New elements include:

• Sophisticated new logo, store set-up and color palette;

• Updated storefront with Build-A-Bear’s distinctive signature teddy bear silhouette;

• Bigger than ever (seven-feet tall!) Build-A-Bear stuffer prominently placed in the store’s center; and

• New “inspiration wall” displaying different pop culture trends to give shoppers creative ideas for making their furry friends.

The Build-A-Bear Workshop store at Mall of America is the third location to open in the new design, with a total of 11 stores planned in the format by the end of 2015. The retailer expects to value-engineer components of the store as it moves from prototype to a standardized model in order to systematically update existing locations and open new doors over the next few years.

The new store design is one of many elements that Sharon Price John, who became CEO In 2013, and her executive team have incorporated into Build-A-Bear’s brand refresh strategy, designed to elevate the brand to better cater to millennials and other target audiences.

The company has also moved toward an enterprise-selling solution with the launch of an updated mobile-optimized designed with millennial moms in mind. It also has extended the brand’s portfolio with entertainment offerings, including a YouTube channel that shows original video content, and the launch of mobile apps tied to complementary products

In addition, the product mix and marketing functions have been restructured to consistently focus on key segments including younger girls, older girls, boys and gifting and affinity consumers.

The updates are being rolled out ahead of Build-A-Bear’s 20th anniversary in 2017.

“As we look forward to celebrating two decades in business, we have begun to reinvent the company in a number of ways, all with a consumer-centric, brand-building and data-driven approach,” said John. “It’s especially exciting to see our brand become ‘multi-generational,’ as parents who first engaged with Build-A-Bear when they were children are now bringing their own children to share in the experience.”

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