Build-A-Bear Analysis

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The Build-A-Bear Experience

Section One
“Build-A-Bear” is a store that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. Customers have the opportunity to create their own unique stuffed animal complete with clothing and accessories of their choice. Each customer chooses an unstuffed animal and then works with staff members through eight “creation stations”: choose me, hear me, stuff me, stitch me, fluff me, dress me, name me, and take me home (in new stores there is a ninth station, love me). This is a fun, creative place where children can express themselves by making their animal their own, dressing it and giving it a personality and a name.

“Build-A-Bear’s” core customer is an eight-year-old girl; however, the concept appeals to a broad range of age groups and demographics, including children, teens, parents and grandparents. They also target parents whose kids could want to have a birthday party at “Build-A-Bear”. The average customer visit two to three times a year, either to create a new animal or to buy outfits. Therefore, previous customers are of course targeted. Overall, it is about the children. They have “cub advisors” who provide constant feedback, allowing “Build-A-Bear” to know exactly what their target customer wants and why.

The objective of the “Build-A-Bear” experience is to bring the fun back to retailing. It is about creating a personal, magical connection with customers. Their mission is to deliver experienced-based shopping and to fulfill the widespread demand for stuffed animals.

At the end of 2012 the “Build-A-Bear” company owned 351 retail stores in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, including 283 traditional and eight non-traditional “Build-A-Bear” workshop stores in the US and Canada and 60 traditional stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Franchises operated 91 “Build-A-Bear” stores in other international locations, including: Germany, Japan, Australia, Denmark, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Singapore, Gulf State, Norway, Brazil and Sweden. “Build-A-Bear” brands include make-your-own Major League Baseball mascot in stadium locations, and Build-a-Dino stores.

The 2012 net retail sales for “Build-A-Bear” was $374,553,000. Consolidated e-commerce sales rose 7.7 percent. Therefore, the balance sheet remains strong with consolidated cash of $45 million at the end of the year. However, the net retail sales fell from 2011 to 2012. The 2011 net retail sales was $387,041,000. The percent variance from 2012 versus 2011 of -3.2 percent may be caused by the tight economy and the demand for electronic games in the toy market. Section Two

“Build-A-Bear” stores are usually located in malls worldwide. There are company owned stores in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Mexico and South America. In each of the “Build-A-Bear” stores there is a wide assortment of merchandise. There are over thirty different styles of animals to be stuffed. The inventory changes frequently, with different bear styles arriving every week. There are also clothes, accessories, and music available to purchase for the stuffed animal. The clothes and accessories are updated to keep up with current fashion trends. They also have partnered with popular brands in fashion and entertainment, for example: Hello Kitty, Twinkle Toes and Hot Lights by SKETHERS, The Avenger and pop singer Cody Simpson. Limited-edition and seasonal merchandise is also available at times, especially around the winter holidays. The basic bear is about twenty five dollars. In general, stuffed animals can be purchased for ten to thirty dollars. Outfits usually cost about thirteen dollars, and accessories range from three to nine dollars (Teddy Bears).

“Build-A-Bear” has multiple modes of communication. There are two websites,...
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