In a continuing effort to reach more boys, Build-A-Bear Workshop is expanding its test of Ridermakerz toy car stores. Build-A-Bear has invested in Retail Entertainment Concepts' Ridermakerz customized toy car store concept with an initial two test units. An additional two opened this fall.
"We continue to be excited with our partnership, and look forward to our first holiday season," said Maxine Clark, chairman and chief executive bear. Eight to 10 additional locations will open next year in various formats.
Meanwhile, a Build-A-Bear Workshop virtual world has made its debut, adding cyberspace communities to its continuing growth in the real world. The program was launched November 1, when store customers began receiving a pass to the website.
The program's membership is free. It entitles members to go online and participate in adventures with their recently purchased bears and also conduct live chats.
"We realize that in the last 12 to 18 months, children's play patterns, particularly girls', have shifted to the online world," said Clark. "Our new site will be highly complementary to our existing stores."
Those stores continue to increase. The company opened eight new Build-A-Bear stores in North America in the final quarter of this year, up from six stores opened during the same quarter a year ago.
In all, the chain will have opened 39 new stores in North America, eight new stores in the United Kingdom and three new stores in France in 2007. By year end franchisees will have opened 19 units around the world, including market entries in South Africa.
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