Stockholders invited to experience buildabearville.com(TM), the company's new online entertainment site.
ST. LOUIS, May 08, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (NYSE: BBW) fourth annual meeting of stockholders as a public company was held today at the Saint Louis Science Center in St. Louis. Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Bear Maxine Clark, reviewed the company's fiscal 2007 accomplishments and outlined plans for 2008.
In her remarks to stockholders, Clark said, "Our Guests are engaging in our new online world, buildabearville.com, at a fast pace. Our investment in this online world reflects our commitment to building the entertainment value of our brand. The trend in online play for children is an emerging change and our virtual world website is an important platform for our future growth as a retail-entertainment brand."
During the meeting, company stockholders elected three Class I directors to serve until the 2011 annual meeting. The elected directors were Maxine Clark, Mary Lou Fiala, president and chief operating officer Regency Centers Corporation, and Louis Mucci, retired partner PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
In addition, company stockholders approved the appointment of KPMG LLP to serve as independent accountants for fiscal 2008.
The company also outlined its plan to moderate new store growth in 2008; in North America, Build-A-Bear Workshop expects to open 20 stores - compared to opening 39 new stores in 2007. In the United Kingdom, Ireland and France (company-owned European operations) the company plans to open five new stores - compared to opening 11 new stores in 2007. International franchisees expect to open 15 to 20 new stores in 2008.
Clark added, "In 2008, we are balancing our efforts to invest in building our long-term brand value while managing through the near-term challenges in the retail environment. In addition to slowing down our store growth, this year we are focusing on expense savings, on driving product newness and collectability, and on raising awareness of buildabearville.com and integrating this new component of our brand experience into everything we do."
The annual meeting was broadcast over the Internet via webcast. The webcast is accessible through the Investor Relations page of the Build-A-Bear Workshop corporate web site, http://ir.buildabear.com. Following the live meeting, a replay of the webcast is available until the next annual meeting.
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is the only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. The Company currently operates more than 375 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader in interactive retail. Brands include make-your-own Major League Baseball(R) mascot in-stadium locations, Build-A-Dino(R) stores and friends 2B made(R) doll locations. In December 2007, Build-A-Bear Workshop extended its in-store interactive experience online with the launch of its virtual world at www.buildabearville.com. Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) posted total revenue of $474 million in fiscal 2007. For more information, call 888.560.BEAR (2327) or visit the Company's award-winning Web sites at www.buildabear.com and www.friends2bmade.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" (within the meaning of the federal securities laws) which represent Build-A-Bear Workshop expectations or beliefs with respect to future events. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. Those factors include, without limitation: we may be unable to generate interest in and demand for our interactive retail experience, or to identify and respond to consumer preferences in a timely fashion; our marketing and on-line initiatives may not be effective in generating sufficient levels of brand awareness and guest traffic; we may be unable to generate comparable store sales growth; we may be unable to open new stores or may be unable to effectively manage our growth; we may be unable to effectively manage our international franchises or laws relating to those franchises may change; customer traffic may decrease in the shopping malls where we are located, on which we depend to attract guests to our stores; general economic conditions may deteriorate, which could lead to disproportionately reduced consumer demand for our products, which represent relatively discretionary spending; high petroleum products prices could increase our inventory transportation costs and adversely affect our profitability; we may be unable to repurchase shares at all or at the times or in the amounts we currently anticipate or the results of the share repurchase program may not be as beneficial as we currently anticipate; we may be unable to realize some of the expected benefits of the acquisition of Amsbra and Bear Factory, and the inclusion of France as a Company-owned country; we may lose key personnel, be unable to hire qualified additional personnel, or experience turnover of our management team; the ability of our principal vendors to deliver merchandise may be disrupted; the availability and costs of our products could be adversely affected by risks associated with international manufacturing and trade; we may be unable to realize the anticipated benefits from our company-owned distribution center or our third-party distribution center providers may perform poorly; fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations could cause the price of our common stock to substantially decline; we may be unable to renew or replace our store leases, or enter into leases for new stores on favorable terms or in favorable locations, or may violate the terms of our current leases; our market share could be adversely affected by a significant, or increased, number of competitors; we may suffer negative publicity or be sued due to violations of labor laws or unethical practices by manufacturers of our merchandise; our products could become subject to recalls or product liability claims that could adversely impact our financial performance and harm our reputation among consumers; we may improperly obtain or be unable to protect information from our guests in violation of privacy or security laws or expectations; we may fail to renew, register or otherwise protect our trademarks or other intellectual property; and we may have disputes with, or be sued by, third parties for infringement or misappropriation of their proprietary rights. These and other applicable risks, cautionary statements and factors that could cause actual results to differ from the Company's forward-looking statements are included in the Company's filings with the SEC, including as described in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 29, 2007. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
We would like to thank you for your interest in covering our business. As you write your story, we would ask that you use our full name: Build-A-Bear Workshop(R) and that when referencing the process of making stuffed animals you use the word "make" not "build."
Build-A-Bear Workshop(R) is our well-known trade name and our registered trademark of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. Build-A-Bear Workshop(R) should only be used in capital letters to refer to our products and services and should not be used as a verb.
SOURCE: Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.