A cheap teddy offer which left shoppers with young children queuing for up to eight hours amid chaotic scenes has been abandoned over “safety concerns”.
Build-A-Bear Workshop was offering UK customers a chance to buy any bear, which can cost up to £52, for the price of their child’s age.
At Leeds’ White Rose Shopping Centre police were called when queues of “about a mile long” formed.
The company said the response had been “overwhelming and unprecedented”.
The stores at Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre, Telford and Basingstoke had to shut for the rest of the day following demand.
Leeds shopper Paul Shaw said: “Crazy scenes at the White Rose – Build-A-Bear is in chaos.
“Queuing from the store, all the way outside, approximately five-hour queue. There are even police here trying to keep the peace.”
At the scene: Sophie Madden, BBC News, Telford
The queue was already enormous by the time I got there with my son.
Someone told us that people had been queuing there since 06:30 BST and one woman told us she had travelled for more than an hour to get there because it was her closest store.
We waited an hour-and-a-half but it was too much for my little boy and I thought there would be no bears left so we took a £12 voucher that could be redeemed another time.
Parents on social media criticised the event, saying they were “disgusted” by the lack of organisation. Some said their children were left “heartbroken” when they could not get a bear.
In a statement on its Facebook page, Build-A-Bear Workshop said: “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.”
Some customers praised the efforts of staff working at stores around the country who remained calm during the situation and offered vouchers to those who could not get in for the event.