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Build-A-Bear brand ‘damaged’ after customers queue for hours for store promotion

PUBLISHED: 09:08 13 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:23 13 July 2018

Queues for the Build-A-Bear shop in intu Chapelfield in Norwich on the shop's 'Pay Your Age Day'. Photo intu Chapelfield.

Queues for the Build-A-Bear shop in intu Chapelfield in Norwich on the shop's 'Pay Your Age Day'. Photo intu Chapelfield.

Archant

A “pay your age” event at Build-A-Bear led to “extreme crowd safety concerns” – and prompted the toy chain to warn customers against making trips to its stores.

The retailer said there had been an “unprecedented” response to the promotion, in which customers pay the age of the child they are accompanying for one of a range of stuffed toys, which normally cost around £20.

At the Build-A-Bear store in Chapelfield, Norwich, customers queued for five hours and the unexpected crowds forced the shop to close early.

In a statement, Build-A-Bear said: “The response to our Pay Your Age Day event at all of our UK locations has been overwhelming and unprecedented in our 21-year history.

“The crowds have greatly exceeded our expectations and, per local authorities, queues are at capacity and we cannot accept additional guests due to extreme crowds and safety concerns.

“We understand our guests are disappointed, and we are working to address the situation. We will reach out directly to our valued guests as soon as possible.”

Customers who attempted to take advantage of the offer took to social media to report staff advising them that they could have to queue for hours.

Neil Saunders, managing director of analysts GlobalData Retail, said: “The decision to shut stores and end the promotion early was necessary on both safety and operational grounds, but it will damage the brand.

“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. This could have a future impact on profits, although it will be helpful to sales volumes.”

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