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Build-A-Bear returns to a profit in 1st quarter

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. returned to a profit in its fiscal first-quarter as sales strengthened domestically, in Europe and online.

The stock jumped more than 32 percent in afternoon trading and reached a new 52-week high.

Build-A-Bear's stores allow customers to design customized teddy bears and other animals, which are stuffed, dressed and accessorized before their eyes.

For the period ended March 30, the St. Louis company earned $13,000, or had breakeven results on a per-share basis. That compares with a loss of $1 million, or 6 cents per share, in the 2012 first quarter.

Removing management transition costs and store closing costs, earnings were 14 cents per share.

Revenue climbed 8 percent to $104.3 million, from $96.4 million last year.

Shares of Build-A-Bear gained $1.60, or 31.7 percent, to $6.65. Earlier in the session the stock hit a fresh 52-week high of $6.75.

Revenue at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer's health, rose 10.4 percent. This figure excludes results from stores recently opened or closed. In North America, the metric increased 10.6 percent, while in Europe it climbed 9.7 percent.

For the year-to-date through April, Build-A-Bear said revenue at stores open at least a year is up 10.1 percent.

Online sales rose 7 percent, excluding the impact of foreign exchange.

Build-A-Bear closed 18 stores during the quarter to end the period with 333 company-owned stores and 92 franchised locations. It expects to close up to 45 additional stores through 2014, aiming for between 225 and 250 stores in North America, down from its current 273.