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Posted on Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Build-A-Bear store in Ann Arbor's Briarwood Mall to close

By Katrease Stafford

The Build-A-Bear location in Ann Arbor at Briarwood Mall will close June 10, according to Jill Saunders, the company's director of public relations.

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.


Madeleine Borthwick

Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

Big Furry Deal. I lost every reason to go to Briarwood Mall, which represents everything I detest about Corporate America, when they shut down the dollar movies. to briarwood mgmt.: shame on you!! why would you shut down the one remaining venue where we could go to see dollar movies during this recession? and just so you could put in yet another sporting goods store?! are you THAT cut off from the real world out here? apparently you are. I will never step foot in b'wood again. I have no reason to. you can sink into the earth for all i care(after the employees have left for the day, naturally).

Jojo B

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

Why the downvotes, people? I rather enjoyed that rant! :) Thanks!


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

How will we ever get by without overpriced low quality teddy bears and their accessories.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

I heard Briarwood wanted BAB to relocate within the mall and BAB decided not to


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

Too expensive for low quality products. It was fun to go with my daughter and actually BUILD the bear, but it was WAY overpriced and how much fun is it to make a stuffed animal and not be able to dress it? Clothes for those stuffed animals cost almost as much as my own clothes. I will be able to take my daughter to the mall again and not have to worry about her wanting to make a stop there.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

I bet one of the reasons they chose to close the briarwood store is due to the fact they are always hiking up their leasing prices - I have seen soooo many good businesses leave because owners of briarwood keep hiking up prices (especially if the owner of store became a thorn in mgmt side) watched this scenario unfold right in front of me! I can't believe how many biz were forced out this way- I'm surprised bw is still around with the way their mgmt treats ppl - again this is from experience not speculation


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

That's really sucky. It was always a treat for my DD to go there when she saved her allowance up. What else is there to do now? Buy women's clothing and eat a pretzel?

Jake C

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

Huh, build-a-bear isn't the first place I'd take my Designated Driver for a gift, but whatever floats your boat.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

How about save it and not waste it on an overpriced stuffed animal ?

Unusual Suspect

Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Twenty-five years ago I asked myself the question that logically follows yours: Why go to the mall at all?


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Cant say I'm too surprised by this, $30 to build a bear...more for its clothes...ouch.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

We did it once at a birthday party. What a lot of money to put forth on one bear. Still have the bear but wow, I agree, expensive.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Ditto on Halter's comments...Really there was one in Briarwood? Don't believe it.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

See ya. What a crazy thing to spend enormous amounts of cash on.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

Ya it is very sad..i will have to take my daughter one last time. She saves her own money just to go was in the wrong wing and that is to bad. If it was near justice it would have had more little kids coming in.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Sounds like cruelty to animals "Build a Bear"? Where is PETA?

Jojo B

Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

It was a "build a bear" store, not a "cut a bear open and put Luke inside to keep him warm until you can build a shelter" store.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

location location location....and nobody knew their location.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 11:15 a.m.

My daughter will be very sad. We'll have to make a stop before they close.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 10:20 a.m.

There was a Build-a-Bear store in Briarwood?? Boy were they in the wrong wing of the mall..


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

I agree as well. This is the first I knew this store existed.


Mon, Jun 4, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

I have to agree with this post. I didn't realize there was one in the mall either. By Sears or in the center would have been a great location. Sorry to see them go.