St. Louis — Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., plans to retire as CEO. The company also plans to close 50-60 stores in 2013 and 2014 and remodel/relocate 40-50 locations.
St. Louis — Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., an interactive entertainment retailer, plans to retire as chief executive officer. Clark will continue in her current position until a successor has been named and a successful transition has occurred. She will remain as a member of the Build-A-Bear Workshop board of directors.
“Creating Build-A-Bear Workshop and nurturing the company from a fledgling startup to a global retail brand has been one of the greatest experiences of my professional life. I have met so many wonderful people — associates and guests — which made my decision to retire a difficult one,” says Clark. “Although our business has experienced challenges over the past few years as consumers have reduced discretionary purchases, our strategic plan and key initiatives are beginning to work. I believe now is an opportune time to attract a new chief executive to take this incredible brand forward.”
The company also remains on track to close 50 to 60 existing stores in fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2014 to reach its optimal store base of 225 to 250 stores. These select store closures are expected to transfer approximately 20% of sales to other stores in the same markets. In addition, the company continues to expect to relocate and remodel between 40 to 50 existing locations in its new store design by year-end 2014. (The six stores that already feature the company’s newly imagined store design are expected to report an average 30% increase in sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 from the fourth quarter of 2011.)
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. has more than 400 stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Mexico and South America. Build-A-Bear Workshop was founded in St. Louis in 1997. For more information, visit www.buildabear.com.
SOURCE: Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.