Build-A-Bear Reports Inventory Up, Record-Setting Profit

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie Grill-Goodman profile picture

Despite supply chain challenges that have impacted the toy industry, specialty retailer Build-A-Bear Workshop said inventory will be up compared to the same time in prior year and it’s prepared for the holiday season.

[See also: President Biden Meets With Retailers About Holiday Shopping]

“Our team has done a great job mitigating supply chain disruptions to keep our products moving as efficiently as possible with the goal of having plenty of furry friends available at our Workshop locations and at so we can continue to deliver the family tradition of creating heartfelt holiday memories for our guests,” said Sharon Price John, Build-A-Bear Workshop president & CEO. “From furry friends to holiday décor and collectibles, we are committed to having product available throughout the season to support the business momentum that we have seen thus far in 2021.”

Build-A-Bear’s record-setting third quarter profit results followed a record performance in the fiscal 2021 first half leading to the retailer’s strongest first nine-month performance on the precipice of the celebration of Build-A-Bear 25th anniversary.

“We are pleased to report our third consecutive quarter of record-setting profit for Build-A-Bear Workshop along with strong growth in total revenues compared to both the fiscal 2020 and 2019 periods with the positive business momentum continuing into the start of the current fourth quarter,” Price John said of its Fiscal 2021 Q3. “We firmly believe our results reflect the progress we have made in our key initiatives allowing us to capitalize on increased demand with enhanced marketing programs and omnichannel capabilities, while also having acknowledged the potential positive impact from pandemic-related factors such as pent-up consumer activity and government stimulus,” she continued.

The retailer recently rolled out its new Bear Builder 3D Workshop, a unique animated e-commerce shopping experience that brings the stuffed animals it sells “to life” online with a digitally reimagined retail experience. Shoppers can also include a personalized voice message with a Record Your Voice sound chip.

Price John noted in the company earnings call that the online transaction where the products “come to life in a video game-like world” was recently given credit in a popular business podcast as pioneering e-commerce 2.0, with the process being dubbed as experiential e-commerce or e-e-commerce.

For More From Build-A-Bear Workshop

Retail executives from Build-A-Bear Workshop, Duluth Trading Co., Soft Surroundings and Snipes will come together to talk about how the rapidly changing needs of the consumer are driving changes within the store at the NRF Big Show 2022. Hear from Roz Johnson, SVP, Store Operations and Guest Experience, Build-A-Bear, on how specialty retailers meet ever-changing challenges by simplifying their store operations in the session "Simplifying specialty retail to face today’s new complexities produced by StoreForce." Johnson will be joined by Marina Rodrigue, Sr. manager, Retail Operations, Duluth Trading Company; Marty Badour, EVP, Retail, Snipes USA; and Marc Galloway,VP, Stores, Soft Surroundings.



“This exciting innovation opens up a new way for guests to engage and shop with us,” she said.

Looking ahead to the peak selling season, Price John noted like many companies, the retailer is monitoring the potential impact of the newly identified COVID variant Omicron, while juggling logistics and inventory challenges. “However,” she said, “because of the team's long-range planning and focused efforts on our supply chain, we remain confident that we will be in an inventory position to support our expected holiday demand.

“We also believe that we are appropriately staffed and trained with Bear Builder associates ready to assure that there are plenty of teddy bears under the tree this Christmas.”

Build-A-Bear has also partnered with Klarna ahead of the holiday season to offer online shoppers the option to “pay in four” spreading the cost the purchase into four interest-free payments. Klarna transactions have a 30% higher average order value versus non-Klarna orders, Price John said, and the relationship provides Build-A-Bear marketing exposure to millions of Klarna shoppers. To celebrate the partnership, Klarna and Build-A-Bear Foundation teamed up to donate 10,000 bears to Toys for Tots for children around the United States this Christmas.

In light of its position heading into the holidays, the company increased its guidance regarding total revenues and EBITDA for fiscal 2021.