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.


  • They are pretty expensive for what you pay for!

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  • Each of my kid have done one

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  • My kids were never into it, but I guess because I never took them.

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  • My kids were never into Build A Bear – but feel sorry for those who love the store. As for expensive, unless you want to continue buying cheap Chinese imports, then you just have to pay a bit more for quality goods. Hope not all the stores go under.

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  • they are so expensive though

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  • It is such shames it is a great place for kids. Hopefully they will remain in Myer stores.

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  • I’ve never been there, but I know some that have. I found it to be a really expensive idea, but I do know many people who have used it.

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  • never been there myself

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  • My kids aren’t old enough yet to be interested in these. It’s still sad to see a good store go.

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  • Such a pity that these stores are in receivership – expect to see more and more of this as the global giants come in and take over our Australian stores.

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  • We love BaB! I remember going over 10 years ago and now I take my kiddies as often as possible- we live 2 hours from the closest one. We have 6 bears in out house and there’s plenty of room for more.


    • Oh dear, I think we have over 30 bears in the house with lots and lots of accessories. My kids are sad the shops are disappearing.

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  • My kids are too young to justify the price but it is something we hope to do in the future.

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  • We still have one bear made in one of those workshops!! I think a lot of kids loved going there.

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  • I’ve heard of this company, but have never ever seen a store at any WA shopping centres (obviously I have not been to them all!) but have heard they are very very expensive. Perhaps they need to look at making their products more affordable if they really want to stay open?

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  • That’s such a shame coz my girls loved the workshop when it came to Murray Bridge South Australia for the day. They love the bears and have named them and they talk to them too. So cute. Will there be huge sales on or not?

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