Build-A-Bear narrows Q2 loss

St. Louis — Build-A-Bear Workshop narrowed its second-quarter loss to $6.2 million from $7.5 million in the year-ago period, boosted by improved sales and store productivity.

Total revenues were $81.9 million , up 1.9% from the $80.4 million reported in the second quarter of 2012.  Same-store sales rose 7.3%, including an 8.6% increase in North America and 1.7% increase in Europe. E-commerce sales rose 5.2%.

“We continued to show progress in the second quarter with increased comparable-store sales, growth in total sales on a lower store count and expansion in gross profit margin, as compared to last year,” said Sharon Price John, CEO of Build-A-Bear. “Our brand marketing, product and real estate initiatives led to our third consecutive quarter of positive comparable-store sales in North America. This, along with a reduction in promotional activity, resulted in improved operating performance for the quarter and first half of the year."

During the quarter, the company closed 10 stores to end the period with 323 company-owned store, with 263 in North America and 60 in Europe. Build-A-Bear also remodeled four stores in its new design format. The company’s international franchisees ended the quarter with 90 stores in 14 countries.

Looking ahead, Build-A-Bear continues to expect to close an additional 20 to 35 stores in fiscal 2013 and 2014, along with limited, opportunistic store openings, to reach its optimal store count of 225 to 250 stores in North America. These select store closures are expected to transfer approximately 20% of sales to other stores in the same markets, which is consistent with the average transfer rate of the stores closed since 2012.