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To honor its 20th anniversary, Build-A-Bear’s upgraded web platform serves as the backdrop for a reintroduction of its data-rich loyalty program called the Build-A-Bear Bonus Club.
“We plan to use this backbone to systematically increase the lifetime value of our members and we have signed a new franchise agreement with a partner in China representing our first major international expansion in several years,” CEO Sharon John said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call last week. “This accomplishment was made possible by a three-year effort to overhaul our international organization, processes, and systems, allowing us to attract new well-funded experienced organizations to expand our valuable brand around the globe.”
John noted that the multigenerational global brand has sold 170 million furry bears and generated more than $6 billion.
As a part of its celebration, last week company officials opened a new flagship store in Manhattan.
“We now begin our next 20 years with significantly improved infrastructure, processes, and skill set,” John added. “We have a strong balance sheet and cash flow to be able to both scale the business and monetize our powerful brand in new ways to drive sustained profitable growth in the future.”
What’s more, John said the company recently delivered on some key milestones in other areas of the business, launching a completely upgraded version and platform of buildabear.com designed to more efficiently leverage shifting consumer shopping trends in a more robust manner.
E-commerce sales sank 18 percent during the quarter, John said, “as we shifted focus and resources to successfully launch the new site and transition to a new platform. E-commerce results were further impacted by a difficult comparison last year, when sales in this channel rose 25%, driven by key Pokémon launches.”
Through the first nine months of the year, Build-A-Bear has achieved a pretax income of $4.1 million, more than double the level for the same period in 2016.
“We believe the investments that have been made to grow and diversify the business, upgrade the website, and add more profitable stores in a range of formats and location in the wide variety of places that families go for entertainment, position us to achieve our annual guidance and deliver profitable long-term growth,” John stated. “I also believe that it is important to reiterate that the ongoing changes in a real estate portfolio are expected to continue to contribute to some unevenness in comparable sales trends at some of the new stores, remodeled stores, and new formats that are delivering positive results are not included in comparable sales calculations.”
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