FINANCE

Build-A-Bear Workshop posts Q4 loss; to unveil new store design

BY Marianne Wilson

St. Louis — Build-A-Bear Workshop reported a loss of $9 million for the fourth quarter, down from a profit of $8.3 million in the year-ago period. Total revenue dropped 5% to $119 million. The company said its profit and revenue took a hit when two movies it important product tie-ins with underperformed.

In a conference call with analysts, Build-A-Bear CEO Maxine Clark said she was very disappointed by the fourth quarter results after sales increases in the second and third quarters. She noted that Build-A-Bear’s key holiday products were related to the movies "Happy Feet Two" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," which did not fare as well as expected at the box office. The chain subsequently stepped up promotions in the fourth quarter to try to make up for the lower-than-expected sales.

On the call, Clark said the company is set to debut a new store design, with five stores to be retrofitted to the new look.

Build-A-Bear will also close 15 to 20 stores in North America to right size its portfolio, she said, with most of the locations in markets where the company already has other stores.

The company also plans to relocate 15 stores to reduce square footage and to open four to six new stores in North America.

On the international front, the company plans to add 10 to 12 more franchised stores this year, net of store closings.

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FINANCE

Westwood Financial Corp. sells retail center in Glendale, Ariz.

BY Staff Writer

Glendale, Ariz. — Westwood Financial Corp. has sold Olive Square, an 86,225-sq-.ft. retail center in Glendale, Ariz., to seller North American Realty Acquisition Corporation for $6.3 million.

“Westwood Financial Corp. owned the shopping center for over 20 years and is continuing to re-balance its portfolio,” said Joe Dykstra, executive VP of Westwood Financial Corp. “Funds generated from our sales are being reinvested in grocery anchored properties elsewhere in the U.S.” Currently Westwood Financial Corp. is under contract on multiple acquisitions spread across the country.

The 92%-leased Olive Square was built in 1974 and remodeled in 2007. Tenants include Fry’s Food & Drug, Leslie’s Pool, Swizzle Sticks, West Olive Family Medicine and Ollie’s Omelet House.

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STORE SPACES

Giant Food Stores deploys solar

BY Staff Writer

Lancaster, Pa. — Giant Food Stores announced that roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems have been installed and are operational at two of its locations in Lancaster and Pottstown. In-store flat panel monitors will reveal to customers in real time how the system operates and the energy savings being achieved.

The newly-built Lancaster location features 1,111 solar panels on its rooftop, and the system will generate 13% of the store’s annual electricity requirements. When it opened in 2011, the Lancaster location was constructed with innovative building technologies to reduce energy consumption including skylights and LED lighting to reduce energy consumption.

The solar photovoltaic system at the Pottstown location includes 1,056 solar panels which will generate 12% of the store’s annual electricity requirements.

“We are excited to introduce this new energy-savings technology to our customers,” said Rick Herring, president. “From efforts that reduce waste in our stores to improving efficiencies in energy usage, we are working to minimize our impact on the environment and make our operations more efficient.”

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