Vermont Teddy Bear Valentine Orders Jump

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Consumers went crazy for Vermont Teddy Bear Co.'s controversial "Crazy for You" teddy bear, helping boost Valentine's Day orders 29 percent, the company reported this week.


The $69.95 bear was introduced at the start of January and was accompanied by commitment papers. Though it got positive response in customer surveys during product development, a company spokeswoman said, soon after its introduction mental health advocates and consumers expressed concerns that it insulted and stigmatized the mentally ill. Reports in the national media about the bear quickly followed.


The bear sold out Feb. 3, though Vermont Teddy Bear quickly stopped promoting it.


The company reported Feb. 14 that it received 178,000 orders in the first 13 days of February versus 139,000 last year.


As a result of the controversy over the "Crazy for You" bear, the firm said it received orders this year well in advance of the normal Valentine's Day selling season. Orders received for the period Jan. 1-Feb. 13 totaled 214,000 compared with 161,000 for the same period last year, a 33 percent increase.


The company also said net revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 totaled $16.1 million, up 20.3 percent from the year-ago period. Revenue in the first half of fiscal 2005 rose 21.1 percent to $22.3 million.


Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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