Build-A-Bear store in Ann Arbor's Briarwood Mall to close
Saunders said employees at the store have been "invited to transfer" to one of the company's locations, though she did not specify which one.
Build-A-Bear is located in Briarwood's Von Maur wing. Mall officials said they could not release details on the closing.
Founded in 1997, the company has more than 400 stores worldwide and more than 5,000 employees.
On May 3, the company released its first quarter fiscal results of 2012 and reported a net loss of $1 million or $.06 per share. Officials said the loss was an improvement compared to last year’s first quarter loss of $2.3 million or $0.12 per share.
Total revenue for the first quarter was $96.4 million compared to $96 million in last year’s first quarter.
This year, the company expects to open four to six new stores, relocate 10 to 15 stores, remodel six stores in a new design and close 15-20 stores in North America.
Saunders said the company "regularly" evaluates its stores relative to productivity, profitability, and optimum market locations.
"We believe that we can optimize stores in multi-store markets with fewer but more productive locations," Saunders said.
The closure of the 15 to 20 stores and the relocation and downsizing of 10 to 15 is expected to lead to higher productivity metrics for the company, according to Saunders.
The remaining stores expected to close have yet to be announced.
In a earnings call with shareholders and reporters on May 3, Chief Executive Maxine Clark said the company is expected to improve as the year progresses.
“We’ve improved our gross margin and continued to realize benefits from our expense savings initiatives,” Clark said.
Tina Klocke, Chief of Operations and Finance, said during the call that the company is executing these strategies to improve its existing store base. Klocke said the closures are in "accordance with natural lease expirations and kick-out clauses" in the company's muti-store markets.
"These are strategic closures that will benefit the comp sales of the remaining stores in the market and are weighted in the back half of the year. We will also relocate select stores within existing malls; reduce their square footage and thereby increasing productivity," Klocke said.
Build-A-Bear [NYSE: BBW] is based in Missouri. Its stock closed Friday at $4.35, giving it a market capitalization of $71.5 million. The stock's 52-week range is $4.22 - $8.80.