US: First signs of a hamster backlash?

Build-A- Bear is dropping Zhu Zhu Pets in the US, after market saturation lead to heavy discounting.
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Build-A-Bear management said that the roll-out of Zhu Zhu Pets into stores has not been going as well as hoped and that it does not plan to continue its partnership with Cepia, which makes Zhu Zhu. The company will reduce the prices on the pets in order to move the rest of its inventory.

The robotic hamsters trialled well in Build-A-Bear in December and January, leading to a roll-out in all stores.

John Haugh, a company executive, said the market became saturated with the toys, leading to a lot of discounting.

"The line overall is under significant competitive pricing pressures that is somewhat unprecedented for a hot toy so early in its life cycle," he explained.

He added that the company hopes to offset the costs of discounting Zhu Zhu Pets with the profits from other Build-A-Bear products. The company hopes to exit from the Zhu Zhu line by the end of the year and does not plan to buy into the line again.

"From our perspective, it has been a good complementary business that we will work to exit profitably," he said.


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