US: Build-A-Bear to close doll making stores

The company announced on Tuesday that is will close its nine Friends 2B Made stores.
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The Company expects to complete the closures by the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2009, however the specific timing is dependent on finalizing third-party agreements.

The Company's goal is to offer all friends 2B made associates similar positions at nearby Build-A-Bear Workshop store locations.

Maxine Clark, chairman and chief executive bear said:

"With the slowdown in consumer spending, particularly for discretionary products, we believe the best strategic course for the company is to continue to focus our primary efforts on building our Build-A-Bear Workshop.

“The teddy bear has been an icon of fun and friendship for over a hundred years, and spans ages and genders - a formula that is hard to match. We will also continue to focus our efforts on the successful Guest response we are receiving to our virtual world buildabearville.com.”

In addition to closing the nine friends 2B made doll locations, the company will remove friends 2B made products from separate display fixtures in Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and discontinue product sales at www.friends2bmade.com.

Of the nine friends 2B made locations, all but one is inside or adjacent to a Build-A-Bear Workshop store. The Company plans to convert several of these locations to expanded the bear Workshop locations in 2009.

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