Oh no! Build-a-Bear Workshop has been placed into voluntary administration, which is not good news for its future.

Hours after the US parent company of Build-a-Bear Workshop reported a 7.5% drop in revenue and slow growth in international markets, it was announced that the Australian arm has been placed into voluntary administration.

As reported in Smart Company, the move is partially blamed on the collapse of Toys ‘R’ Us and problems caused by Brexit.

Further reasons for the collapse include rising operating costs and a drop in shopping mall foot traffic.

Combat The Challenges

Company CEO Gavin Port said Build-a-Bear Australia was working “diligently” on plans to combat those challenges.

Matt Sweeny and Gideon Rathner of Lowe Lippman have been appointed as administrators of the company.

Build-a-Bear Australia is a franchised entity of the US company which opened its first store in Bondi in 2004.
It has grown to 30 stores and other retail outlets across the country.

Ten Stores Will Close

Ten of the stores will close within the next two weeks. Those outlets include the branches at Logan Hyperdome, Kawana, Mt Ommaney, Werribee, Eastland, Garden City (WA), Carousel, Marion, Green Hills and Miranda.

The other stores will continue to trade normally and staff will still be paid. Apparently, gift cards will also still be honoured.

“[We] are taking this action to restructure [Build-a-Bear’s] retail footprint for a more sustainable long-term future for the Build-a-Bear Workshop brand here in Australia,” Mr Port said.

“We have an incredibly dedicated team, and have an established brand that resonates with consumers of all ages. We want to thank our entire team and our valued customers and suppliers who have been great supporters of the brand over the last 14 years.”

“The company will continue to focus on bringing smiles and a unique experience to our guests.”

The administrators have said that are reviewing the company and looking at a variety of restructuring and other opportunities.

We recommend that you go support a remaining Build-a-Bear if you’d like to see it remain open. And by all means, use up any gift vouchers while you still can.

Will you be sad if Build-A-Bear closes? Tell us in the comments below.

  • Another great business about to close it’s doors. Many great memories of making gorgeous animals, bears etc with the children. Will definitely be sad to see this one go????


  • There’s a build a bear in my local MYER. I had a look for my little one but agree with the other commenters that they are quite pricey. Although they did have a school holiday special on recently to make a bear for $5


  • its sad to see a business go under


  • Expensive bears but the novelty of it all is great for kids.


  • I absolutely love the concept of these stores but I have to agree with other Mumsvthey are too expensive!


  • Firstly they are not closing all stores, only the ones that are not profitable. Secondly it is very expensive for most families and maybe they need to look at lowering the prices so it appeals to more people, and do you ever see them advertising? Relying on foot traffic in shopping centers will not give you enough customers. I wanted to take my son to one when he was younger, we walked past and had a look but I could not afford it at the time sadly, I think it is wonderful for kids to make their own bears with their own choices and creativity. Lets hope they survive.


  • It’s such a nice idea, but so expensive.


  • with a tight budget these are pretty pricey for the average family


  • Is / was the Marion one in SA? There are many places throughout Aust. that have the same names in different states. Most families can not afford to continuously buy expensive toys. It’s not just the cost either. Many children lose interest in some toys.


  • I’ve not seen one of these stores.


  • We have only been once, as it’s quite expensive we haven’t been back


  • My kids enjoy Build a Bear but it is just so expensive so I imagine many families wouldn’t go very often.


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