Build-a-Bear Europe reports sales leap

Build-A-Bear Workshop has reported results for the 2008 fourth quarter and full year for its European operations.
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The firm’s net sales from European operations totalled $24.9 million in the fourth quarter, up 5.8 per cent from $23.5 million in the 2007 fourth quarter.

Pre-tax income was $1.8 million in Q4, a drop from $5.1 million in the 2007 Q4. However, the results include $3 million of intercompany and store asset impairment charges. Excluding these items, 2008 Q4 pre-tax income was $4.8 million.

Full-year 2008 net sales from European operations totalled $75.5 million, compared to $59.0 million in 2007, an increase of $16.5 million or 28 per cent.

Pre-tax income from European operations was $1.3 million in 2008, compared to $0.7 million in 2007. 2008 results include $3 million charges. Excluding these items, fiscal 2008 pre-tax income would have been $4.3 million.

Roger Parry, Build-A-Bear Workshop managing director of UK trading said: “Our UK guests continue to embrace the unique Build-A-Bear Workshop entertainment experience. During 2008 we opened five new store locations and introduced more Guests to our brand for the first time.

“We realized growth of our in-store parties which offers families a fun and affordable way to celebrate birthdays, club events or any special occasion. In 2009, we look forward to continuing to introduce more Guests to our brand and to extending their in-store experience online at® our new online virtual world. Many of our Guests have adopted Build-A-Bear Workshop as a brand to have fun with in both our real world stores and online.”

Due to the 53rd week in fiscal 2008, fourth quarter like-for-like sales are compared to the 14-week period ended Jan. 5, 2008. The Company’s European operations delivered a like-for-like sales increase of 6.7 per cent.

Full-year like-for-like sales are compared to the 53-week period ended January 5th, 2008. The Company’s European operations delivered a full-year like-for-like sales increase of 7.7 per cent. During the 2008 first quarter, the Company began reporting like-for-like sales for European operations for the first time.

Roger Parry added: “We are continuously introducing newness into our brand experience – new products and merchandise that we develop combined with new products that build on long-standing partnerships we have with great brands like Disney, SKECHERS shoes and Hello Kitty by Sanrio.

"During holiday [Christmas] 2008 our stores participated in raising money for The BBC Children in Need Appeal. During this partnership we offered our guests the opportunity to make their own Pudsey Bear; with each Pudsey made in our stores we donated £5 to The Appeal and we are very proud to have raised £74,900 to go towards helping disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.”

Worldwide, Build-A-Bear Workshop Company-owned stores at the end of the fourth quarter totalled 346. Of these, 292 are in North America and 54 in Europe. The Company’s European operations include company-owned stores located in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and France.


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