Build-A-Bear Workshop ( BBW), the owner of stores that let customers make their own stuffed animals, indicated that its full-year earnings plan is sound and said third-quarter net retail sales increased 25.7%. The St. Louis-based merchant, whose executives favor
ursine job titles, said total revenue for the third quarter was $84 million, up from $66.5 million in the prior year. Comparable-store sales grew 1.3%. The company earned $5.3 million, or 26 cents a share, including 2 cents of costs related to the company's new flagship store and cafe in New York. "Our strong results this quarter highlight the strength and quality of the Build-A-Bear Workshop business model," Maxine Clark, chairman and chief executive bear, said in a press release. "This performance is not only based on the sale of an affordable, quality product, but also an interactive, creative, fun entertainment experience that appeals to a growing customer base." Build-A-Bear, which also employs a chief financial bear, Tina Klocke, and a chief marketing bear, Teresa Kroll, earned $3.5 million, or 19 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter, including compensation expenses of 2 cents. Note that the "bear" appellations aren't just for cuteness -- they also appear in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Additionally, the company said it's comfortable earnings for the year will be at the middle to high end of its projection of $1.24 to $1.30 a share. The profit guidance assumes total revenue growth of 15% to 20% and flat same-store sales for the year. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for a profit of 21 cents in the third quarter. The consensus earnings-per-share estimate is $1.22 for the year. Shares of Build-A-Bear were climbing 4% to $25.22 Thursday.