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Turnaround of Build-A-Bear Workshop has been stalled by Covid-19

In the first quarter of 2020, Build-A-Bear Workshop lost its growing momentum as stores were forced to close in the response of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the first quarter, revenue has plummeted from $84.4M to $46.6M, a drop of some 45 per cent but the company said e-commerce continues to gain momentum with growth increasing to triple-digit levels. During this period it also recorded the highest single-day ever of online demand with the initial offering of a stuffed animal based on a character from Disney+ series “The Mandalorian.”

To support the increased digital demand, Build-A-Bear said it rapidly evolved its order fulfilment processes and expedited a number of new efforts, including adding a chat-bot to help manage consumer inquiries, an online waiting room to support high site traffic and a “buy online, ship from store” program to complete orders from select store locations.

“Separately, our strategic decision to secure a high level of lease optionality given the changing shopping patterns and marketplace uncertainty over the last few years has resulted in over 70 per cent of our store leases having a natural event in the next three years,” said President and CEO Sharon Price John. “As we look to the short and longer-term, this flexibility in our real estate portfolio provides potential benefits including an increased opportunity to more efficiently and quickly evolve our brick and mortar lease structures and footprint, if we choose to do so.”