ST. LOUIS-Build-A-Bear Workshop will expand slowly, even as it shutters its “friends 2B made chain,” executives said at the company’s third-quarter conference call. The company plans to open approximately six new stores in 2009, versus 20 new stores in North America this year.

The company also will open five stores in Europe in 2008. However, the retailer still foresees opening a total of 70 units in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“We are analyzing all leases that expire in 2009 and 2010,” said Maxine Clark, chairman and chief executive bear. “We expect that some leases will be renewed, some will be relocated, and some will not be reviewed.”

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