Build-A-Bear CEO Reveals 2 Secrets to Building a Future in Struggling Brick and Mortar Environment

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Build-A-Bear (BBW) - Get Report had a rough ride in the past several years and is now a shell of what it once was, but CEO Sharon Price John mentioned two tweaks the company is making that could play a huge role in reviving growth. 

Build-A-Bear shares are down 87% since the beginning of 2015 and down 92% from its all-time high of $35.11 hit in 2005. Revenue and earnings declines have been a huge part of the story of late. 

Now, a net loss is expected. From 2018 to 2019, sales and declined  5.8% to $336 million. The company posted a net loss of $1.23 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet are looking for a loss of $just 18 cents per share in 2020 as sales are expected to grow 0.5% to $338 million. 

In retail of late, the emergence of e-commerce has cultivated brand loyalty as a key differentiator for retailers across product segments. Internet shopping makes it easy and almost completely efficient for shoppers to identify brands they like the most. What follows? Retailers, whether selling online or in store, must pitch the right brands or product types to suit their customers' desires. 

Two major tweaks the company is making to keep sales growing: improved brand loyalty and better store location. And those two things should be coordinated carefully. 

"We're also evolving the way that the brand is available and accessible to consumers, so our brand happens to be a very accessible brand in terms of the emotion that people get when they for through the process and they create a connection, so we have very high metrics on brand love and brand awareness and we believe that that translates into strong intellectual property  that also can then translate into entertainment venues," John said. She mentioned that the strategy can create another revenue stream, potentially alluding to one centered on entertainment. 

As for store locations, "We're evolving our real-estate strategy." 

But she brought the location and brand themes together. 

She wants Build-A-Bear to be located in places that are more "relevant" to the entertainment type of experience consumers are looking for.

"Yes, in our retail environment, we are diversifying to be in locations like Walmart, which improve our accessibility, but also in new and entirely different revenue streams that we feel like our brand deserves an opportunity to be in and that we know that our guests and our consumers would like to participate in our brand in ways beyond just going through the retail process," John said. 

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