Build-A-Bear (BBW) CEO Clark to Retire; Issues Prelim. Q1 Numbers

January 31, 2013 4:32 PM EST Send to a Friend
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (NYSE: BBW), an interactive entertainment retailer, today announced that its Founder, Maxine Clark, has announced her plan to retire as Chief Executive Bear (CEB). Ms. Clark, 63, will continue in her current position until a successor has been named and a successful transition has occurred. She will remain as a member of the Build-A-Bear Workshop Board of Directors. The Company also announced select preliminary unaudited fourth quarter fiscal 2012 store and e-commerce sales results, as well as expectations for certain balance sheet metrics at year end.

On a preliminary unaudited basis for the Fourth Quarter, the 13-weeks ended December 29, 2012:

* Consolidated comparable store sales are expected to decline 1.7%, representing a marked improvement from the 11.1% decline in third quarter fiscal 2012;
* Comparable store sales in North America are expected to increase 1.5% and decline 11.4% in Europe;
* Consolidated e-commerce sales are expected to increase 14.0%, excluding the impact of foreign exchange;
* The six stores that feature the Company’s newly imagined store design are expected to report an average 30% increase in sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 from the fourth quarter of 2011; and
* The Company noted that it strategically increased investment in SG&A to support its long term growth strategies and that it expects a reduction in its UK performance versus the 2011 fourth quarter. This combined with anticipated nonrecurring charges are expected to have a significant negative impact on fourth quarter profitability.

In addition:

* Inventory at year end is expected to decline from the prior year end on an average square foot basis; and
* Cash at year end is expected to approximate $45 million.

The Company also remains on track to close 50 to 60 existing stores in fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2014 to reach its optimal store base of 225 to 250 stores. These select store closures are expected to transfer approximately 20% of sales to other stores in the same markets. In addition, the Company continues to expect to relocate and remodel between 40 to 50 existing locations in its new store design by year-end 2014.

The Company noted that it is in its normal year-end closing and review procedures and the final results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2012, the 13-week and 52-week periods ended December 29, 2012, may differ, subject to year-end closing procedures and/or adjustments and should not be viewed as a substitute for annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

The Company expects to report full results for the fourth quarter and 2012 fiscal year on February 14, 2013.


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