12/07/2018 17:44 BST | Updated 13/07/2018 09:14 BST

Build-A-Bear Warns Customers To Stay Away After Promotion Backfires

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

Toy company Build-A-Bear issued a warning to customers against visiting its stores today after a “pay your age” promotion backfired spectacularly. 

The event, which saw teddies being sold for as little as £1, resulted in “extreme crowds and safety concerns”, with some stores having to close early due to demand.

The one-day deal meant people who visited a Build-A-Bear store in person could pay their current age for a stuffed toy. The bears usually cost in the region of £20.

Soon after opening time hundreds of parents and their young children were seen queuing outside stores. 

Branches in Sheffield, Telford and Basingstoke reportedly had to close because of demand, while others had to call in security and the police to manage crowds. 

On Twitter photos and videos of the mammoth queues were shared, showing customers in both the UK and the US waiting to enter the shops.

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.”