Build-a-Bear halts too-popular "Pay Your Age" deal

Eight-year-old Skylar Baughey, of Clearwater, Fla., hugs her troll moments after completing its construction at the Build-A-Bear Workshop at Westfield Countryside Mall Thursday, July 12, 2018, in Clearwater, Fla. Baughey had stood in line with her family for more than four hours before gaining access to the store due to the overwhelming response to the event. The company wrote in a Facebook post that it closed lines at its stores in Canada and the U.S. due to overwhelming crowds and safety concerns. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Build-A-Bear Workshop's "Pay Your Age" promotion proved too popular. The chain known for its customizable teddy bears and other stuffed toys couldn't handle the crowds Thursday, and had to turn shoppers away.

The company wrote in a Facebook post that it closed lines at its stores in Canada and the U.S. due to overwhelming crowds and safety concerns. The offer, which let customers with youngsters in tow buy a bear and pay their current age with a cap at $29, was also available at its United Kingdom stores.

Customers took to social media to complain afterward. Analyst Neil Saunders of GlobalData said in a report that "the decision to shut stores and end the promotion early was necessary on both safety and operational grounds, but it will damage the brand."

Later Thursday, the company said it distributed vouchers to customers in line that can be redeemed for a purchase through Aug. 31, the chain said. It said the goal is to better control traffic at the stores and prevent long lines and significant wait times.