Is Baby Yoda good for business? We'll soon see.
Shares of Build-A-Bear Workshop skyrocketed 15% Tuesday after the company increased its 2019 full-year forecast, citing stronger-than-expected holiday sales, and revealed that it would be releasing a Baby Yoda plush in the coming months.
"We are pleased to have seen a positive shift in sales trend as the fourth quarter progressed leading into the peak holiday period and sales have continued to grow post-holiday with stronger gift card redemption levels and positive consumer response to our newest merchandise offerings leading us to increase our guidance for the year," Sharon Price John, Build-A-Bear's CEO, said in a statement.
The company said it now expects total revenue for fiscal 2019 to be between $334 million and $338 million. Previously, Build-A-Bear had predicted that its total revenue would be flat to down in the low single-digit range.
In 2018, the company reported total revenue of $336.6 million.
In addition to strong gift card redemption levels and improved sales, Build-A-Bear will no doubt benefit in the 2020 fiscal year from Baby Yoda.
John revealed a prototype of a new plush figure based on The Child character from Disney's "The Mandalorian" at the ICR Conference in Orlando, Florida Tuesday.
"I'm excited to share we will be one of the first companies to provide the digital and internet phenomenon, who is trending higher than all the presidential candidates combined," she said, according to a report from Business Insider. "We now will have The Child, also known as Baby Yoda."
Like most toy companies, Build-A-Bear was left in the dark about the surprise character. So, it had to work quickly to create a product based on The Child in order to meet growing demand. The plush is expected to be available in the coming months.
While T-shirts and print-on-demand mugs, stickers and posters are easy to quickly produce, toy products and plush take a bit more time. Many pre-ordered toys including Funko Pops and selections from the Star Wars master toy license holder Hasbro won't arrive to customers until May.
Notably, the Baby Yoda Funko was a top-selling action figure on Amazon in early December.
According to BI, John said that the build-your-own stuffed animal chain has seen significant growth from adults shopping online for products that are from Disney, Lucasfilm and Warner Bros.
Build-A-Bear shares have fallen nearly 16% over the past 12 months. The stock, which has a market value of $59.3 million, has traded in a narrow range between a high of $6.50 last March to a low of $2.31 in September.