Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. has reported results for its fiscal 2021 first quarter, the 13-week period ended May 1, 2021.
Total revenues were $91.7 million, compared to $46.6 million in the fiscal 2020 first quarter, and up from $84.4 million in the fiscal 2019 first quarter.
“We delivered one of the strongest first quarters in our company’s nearly 25-year history including a 96.7% increase in total revenues compared to the fiscal 2020 first quarter and an 8.7% increase versus the fiscal 2019 period,” said Build-A-Bear Workshop President and CEO Sharon John. “We grew pre-tax income to $13.2 million, an improvement of $31.9 million compared to the loss in the prior year’s quarter and $10.8 million compared to the 2019 period.”
Net retail sales were $89.2 million, a 95.4% increase compared to $45.6 million in the fiscal 2020 first quarter and a 10.1% increase compared to $81.0 million in the fiscal 2019 first quarter.
“We saw sales growth in both our brick-and-mortar stores and digital channels even with our locations in Europe temporarily closed for the majority of the period due to local COVID restrictions,” John said. “We believe the improvement in sales was driven by the strength of the emotional connection that has kept Build-A-Bear a desired and relevant brand, strong merchandise mix and improved digital marketing programs along with the benefit of the stimulus package and pent-up consumer demand.”
As of May 1, 2021, the company had 355 corporately-managed stores. Locations in the U.K. and Ireland began the quarter closed due to COVID-related government mandates, with the majority reopening on April 12, 2021. The company maintains a high level of lease optionality with over 70% of its corporately-managed stores having a lease event within the next three years.
Separately, locations associated with the company’s third-party retail model with relationships that include Carnival Cruise Lines, Great Wolf Lodge Resorts, Landry’s and Beaches Family Resorts, as well as international franchise locations, were either closed or operated under restrictions due to COVID for a portion of the 2021 first quarter.
“I’m proud of our organization’s ability to remain agile and successfully pivot to aggressively evolve our digital capabilities, including a drive to enhance our e-commerce experience, increase omnichannel integration, maintain a flexible real estate portfolio with high lease optionality and diversify revenue streams to leverage our powerful brand, putting us in a positive position with favorable momentum,” John said. “As a testament to the strength of the brand, we recently surpassed over 200 million furry friends sold since the company was established in 1997.”
She added, “As we look forward, we believe the initiatives and investments that were put in place prior to the pandemic, and in many cases accelerated during the pandemic, are delivering improved results, which we expect to continue. While trends may moderate as the year progresses, thus far, sales in the current second quarter have remained strong, providing us the confidence to increase our profit guidance for this fiscal year. With a solid balance sheet and intense focus on our strategic priorities, we expect fiscal 2021 to represent a year of significant accomplishments and progress toward our objective to generate long term sustained profitable growth.”