Build-A-Bear is a 'victim of its own success' as 'Pay Your Age Day' ends in chaos

  • Build-A-Bear was forced to end its “Pay Your Age Day” deal early on Thursday because of safety concerns as stores were unable to deal with the huge number of customers who showed up to partake.
  • The retailer’s reputation could take a major hit, one analyst said, because of disappointed children and parents who visited stores only to be turned away.
  • “With much higher than anticipated demand for its ‘Pay Your Age Day’ promotion, Build-A-Bear has become a victim of its own success,” GlobalData Retail’s Neil Saunders wrote in a note on Thursday.

Build-A-Bear is a “victim of its own success” after having to shut down its “Pay Your Age Day” deal early when stores descended into chaos, according to an analyst.

On Thursday, Build-A-Bear was set to celebrate “Pay Your Age Day” in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, where customers could purchase a stuffed animal and pay only their age. Kids could pay just a few dollars for stuffed bears, while the fee for adults was capped at $US29. The bears usually cost $US20 to $US35.

But at 11 a.m. ET, Build-A-Bear said it would not allow any more customers to enter locations, citing “crowds and safety concerns.”

According to Neil Saunders, the managing director of GlobalData Retail, Build-A-Bear’s reputation could take a hit as a result of the drama.

“With much higher than anticipated demand for its ‘Pay Your Age Day’ promotion, Build-A-Bear has become a victim of its own success,” Saunders wrote in a note on Thursday.

Saunders continued: “A lot of parents are now upset that they cannot fulfil promises to their children, and many who made special trips to malls are frustrated that their efforts have come to nothing. In our view, Build-A-Bear is going to have to take some action to remedy this, maybe by offering deals and special offers to those affected.”

While follow-up deals may help boost traffic at Build-A-Bear, it could also cut down on profit.

Saunders said the incident did have a silver lining for Build-A-Bear: While the stores were unprepared for the chaos, Thursday proves the business’ concept is still “relevant and popular.”

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