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Build-A-Bear's stock soars 17 percent on higher 2017 profit

Build-A-Bear's stock soars 17 percent on higher 2017 profit

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Build-A-Bear Workshop’s shares rose more than 17 percent Thursday after the Overland-based retailer reported a $7.9 million profit in 2017, up from $1.4 million profit in the prior year. It’s the company’s fourth consecutive year of profitability.

Revenue fell to $357.8 million in 2017, compared with $364 million in 2016.

For the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 30, Build-A-Bear’s profit rose to $5.2 million, or 33 cents a share, up from $318,000, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue in its fourth quarter totaled $107.6 million, down from $110.3 million a year earlier.

Build-A-Bear President and CEO Sharon Price John said the company upgraded its e-commerce platform and relaunched its website ahead of the holiday season, which led to a 12 percent spike in online sales.

“During the year, we made operational improvements enabling us to drive conversion and deliver our highest dollars-per-transaction in history, which partially offset the traditional mall traffic challenges,” she said in a statement. “We also continued to evolve our real estate portfolio with more productive formats that have lower overall costs.”

In a conference call with analysts, John said the retailer’s franchisees operated more than 100 international locations in 12 countries, the most in the company’s history. More international expansion is planned, she said, including at least five new stores opening in China this year.

Shares of Build-A-Bear closed at $9.15 a share Thursday, up more than 17 percent from Wednesday’s closing price.

Heading into this year, the company plans to “more fully participating in the changing patterns of shoppers and connect more closely with consumers through elevated social and digital marketing and a recently updated loyalty program,” John said.

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