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Build-A-Bear Workshop widens Q4 loss; reports annual loss of $49 million

BY Marianne Wilson

St. Louis — Build-A-Bear Workshop, which is in the midst of a major turnaround initiative, reported a net loss of $36.5 million for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 29, compared with a net loss of $9 million during the prior-year quarter.

Total revenue for the quarter was $118.2 million, down 1% from the prior-year quarter.

For the full year, Build-A-Bear Workshop reported a net loss of $49.3 million in fiscal 2012, compared with a net loss of $17.1 million in fiscal 2011. The 2012 loss included a $33.7 million goodwill impairment in the fourth quarter.

The company reported total revenue of $380.9 million in 2012, down 3% from the previous year.

Founder and CEO Maxine Clark, who announced her retirement Jan. 31, said that the company was “disappointed” with its overall results. But she noted that in the fourth quarter the company increased same-store store sales in North America to show a marked improvement from the third quarter.”

“This increase was driven by the initial benefit of our brand building marketing campaigns, particularly in the U.S., and a return to traditional holiday product offerings,” Clark stated. “The U.K. remained challenging, which drove down our consolidated comparable store sales.

Clark also said: “We are in the midst of a multi-year turnaround initiative that includes closing an additional 50 to 60 stores by the end of 2014, updating our experience with a new design that builds our destination appeal and refocusing on brand messaging in our marketing programs.”

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Checkpoint Systems introduces safer anti-theft label

BY CSA STAFF

THOROFARE, N.J. — Checkpoint Systems, a global supplier of shrink management solutions, has introduced a new enhanced performance (EP) anti-theft EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) food label for supermarkets that is certified to be microwave safe.

The 4010 EP Food Label was designed specifically to protect fresh and frozen supermarket food. It has been certified as microwave safe and non-flammable by TUV Rheinland, an international service group that provides manufacturers with assessment and certification services to ensure product safety.

Extensive TUV testing revealed EAS labels from other manufacturers sometimes showed browning around the edges and in some cases even caught fire when placed in a microwave oven, making the food potentially unsafe for consumers. Checkpoint’s 4010 EP Food Label passed all TUV tests without incident.

“The new 4010 EP Label is designed specifically for food and offers optimized protection without risk,” said Farrokh Abadi, President & COO, Shrink Management Solutions Checkpoint. “By offering maximum protection and enhanced deactivation at the point of sale, food retailers can improve merchandise availability and enhance their consumers’ shopping experience while increasing sales.”

The 4010 EP Food Label can be applied through high-speed source tagging at the point of manufacture, or through in-store tagging. The new EAS label maintains its enhanced performance throughout the supply chain, including after being stored in a freezer.

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Consumer electronics lose sales power in 2012

BY CSA STAFF

PORT WASHINGTON — Despite a plethora of constantly changing products, the consumer technology industry saw its sales decline 2% in 2012, according to The NPD Group. This is on top of the less than 1% drop in 2011. Since 2010, consumer technology sales have declined by $4 billion.

“While sales fell in consumer technology for the second consecutive year, there was an uptick in Q4 which is cause for optimism,” said Stephen Baker, VP industry analysis at NPD. “After struggles with declining categories, and increasingly saturated markets over the last few years, fourth quarter’s results may be the first sign that even as a mature industry consumer technology can grow again, albeit with a very different dynamic than in previous growth spurts.”

The top five categories; notebooks, flat-panel TVs, smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers accounted for 53% of sales in 2012, up from 49% in 2011. Tablets and smartphones were the only two of the top five categories to post growth, and accounted for all the increase in revenue share among the top categories. The rate of revenue decline for PC products accelerated year- over-year as tablet sales started to erode the computer marketplace. TVs remained mired in a cycle of declining prices and weak volume as the strong momentum from the very large screen market was unable to offset stagnant demand.

“While CE remains a dynamic industry the fact is that the stellar growth of the past few years has made growth today more difficult,” said Baker. “Most market segments have high penetration rates and the demand for additional devices is slowing, or declining. Tablets and smartphones have been able to stimulate demand for additional devices, but unfortunately it hasn’t been enough, yet, to sustain positive growth trends.”

Best Buy, Walmart, Apple, Amazon, and Staples were the top retailers, again, in 2012. Apple, Samsung, HP, Sony, and Dell made up the top five brands for the year and accounted for 45 percent of sales up from 42% in 2011. Apple and Samsung accounted for $6.5 billion in increased sales in 2012, while the remainder of the consumer technology industry declined by almost $9.5 billion.

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