FINANCE

Build-A-Bear Workshop swings to Q1 loss

BY CSA STAFF

St. Louis Build-A-Bear Workshop announced Thursday a net loss of $0.8 million for first quarter 2009, compared with a $6.4 million profit in the year-ago period.

The net loss included a pretax charge of $0.5 million associated with the previously announced closure of the friends 2B made retail concept.

Total sales for the quarter were $97.3 million, down from $123.8 million in first quarter 2008. Net retail sales were $96.3 million, compared with $121.9 million in 2008.

Same-store sales declined 17.8% in the quarter, and comprised a 20.5% decline in North America and a 5.6% increase in Europe.

“The decline in mall traffic and consumer spending has continued to affect our sales, but there were bright spots in the quarter which validate our business model,” said Maxine Clark, chairman and chief executive bear, Build-A-Bear Workshop. “When consumers were in the mall — for example, Valentine’s Day and Easter — we saw significant improvement in our sales and we are working to maximize these trends over the balance of the year.”

The company reported that plans to generate approximately $15 million in annualized pretax savings in fiscal 2009 are progressing on track. Capital expenditures expected at $9 million, down from $23 million in 2008, are also on-plan, said the company.

During first quarter 2009, the company did not open any new stores as planned, compared with opening four new stores — two in North America and two in Europe — during first quarter 2008.

In the fiscal 2008 third quarter, the company announced plans to close the friends 2B made concept, a line of make-your-own dolls and related products. The closure plan affected nine locations. In first quarter 2009 the company recorded a pretax charge of $0.5 million associated with the location closures. The majority of these charges are attributable to lease-termination costs.

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Beauty in the eye of the category holder

BY CSA STAFF

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. Consumers are switching channels in some key beauty categories, according to a new survey fro The NPD Group and Information Resources Inc.

While department store sales of makeup declined, makeup posted a slight increase in the FDMx channel. Conversely, the hair segment, although representing a relatively small portion of the prestige business, grew by 6% in department stores versus the decline of 4% in mass, where hair represents a larger portion of the overall business.

“For the first time we have the ability to take a broader view of the U.S. beauty industry,” said Diane Nicholson, president of beauty for The NPD Group. “When looking across total channels — department stores and food, drug and mass channels, excluding Walmart (FDMx) — we can size the market at $19.1 billion dollars, representing approximately 60% of the U.S. beauty industry.”

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Pier 1 selects vendor for marketing efforts

BY CSA STAFF

INDIANAPOLIS Pier 1 Imports has chosen ExactTarget to power its global one-to-one marketing campaigns.

“We continue to see an increased interest among consumers in receiving marketing messages via email from Pier 1 Imports,” said Jeff Haddox, a direct marketing analyst at Pier 1 Imports. “We’ll build on that momentum in 2009 with a new online subscription center that will allow customers to tell us exactly what types of messages they’d like to receive as well as the message frequency.”

In addition to powering e-mail marketing messages for the company, ExactTarget will use its landing page technology to power Pier 1 Imports’ new Web-based subscription center launching this summer. The integrated online site will allow consumers to subscribe to receive messages via e-mail, direct mail or both. The technology will also automatically update Pier 1 Imports’ data management system, which holds its subscriber list for ExactTarget-powered messages, with any changes to a consumer’s preferences or personal information.

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