'Cars 2' Drives Mattel's 2Q Earnings Beat; Net Jumps 56%

Capitalizing on strong demand for products from the popular Cars 2 film, Mattel (NYSE:MAT) revealed a stronger-than-expected 56% leap in second-quarter profits on Friday.

The upbeat results triggered a 5% rally for shares of Mattel, the worlds largest toy maker.

El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel said it earned $80.5 million, or 23 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $51.6 million, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been calling for EPS of 16 cents.

Mattel, which makes Barbie and Fischer-Price products, said its sales gained 14% to $1.16 billion, narrowly surpassing the Streets view of $1.11 billion. Gross margins shrank to 47.9% from 48.1%.

I am very pleased with the continued global momentum across our portfolio, including core brand strength as well as the outstanding performance of the CARS 2 entertainment property," CEO Robert Eckert said in a statement.

Cars 2, which was produced by Walt Disneys (NYSE:DIS) Pixar studio, was released in June in the U.S. and has brought in $155 million despite mixed reviews.

Mattel said its global sales for its girls & boys brands business climbed 22% to $795.6 million. Gross sales for Barbie gained 12%, while its wheels business, which includes Hot Wheels and Matchbox, slipped 2%.

Despite the mixed economic news, I am encouraged by our strong operating results and continue to believe we are well-positioned for the all-important second half of the year, Eckert said.

Wall Street responded positively to Mattels results, bidding the toy makers stock to 52-week highs Friday morning. Its shares were recently up 5.30% to $28.23.