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Build-A-Bear Australia enters voluntary administration as US CEO cites Brexit woes

Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Australian arm is to close ten of its stores by the end of this month, after entering voluntary administration this week.

Remaining stores will continue to trade as normal as the retailer considers its options moving forward, it has reported.

Gavin Port, Build-A-Bear Australia’s chief executive, said the business was combating challenges faced during the fiscal year 2018, including increased operating costs, wages and rent, as well as reduced shopping centre footfall.

“We have an incredibly dedicated team, and have established a brand that resonates with consumers of all ages,” said Port.

“The company will continue to focus on bringing smiles and a unique experience to our guests.”

This news arrives after the US based company posted a $17.9 million loss for the year to February 2, 2019 and a global decline in revenue of 7.5 per cent.

The company CEO, Sharon Price John has cited Brexit among the contributing factors to the brand’s struggles.

“In North America, our largest overall market, we had a low single-digit sales decline and modest profit on an adjusted basis,” John said.

“However, the waning consumer confidence related to Brexit and new privacy laws that inhibited consumer communication in our largest international market, the United Kingdom, resulted in disappointing financial results.”

John also pointed to the collapse of Toys ‘R’ Us as an impacting factor, as well as the “significant reduction in family-centric movie properties” which led to fewer licensed product sales.

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