Mattel 1Q Profit Slumps 33% on Costs

Top U.S. toy maker Mattel (NYSE:MAT) revealed on Friday a 33% drop in first-quarter profit, as higher expenses and softer sales of Fisher-Price toys more than offset strong demand for Barbies, Princess Dolls and Hot Wheels.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based manufacturer posted net income of $16.6 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with $24.8 million, or 7 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue was $951.9 million, up 8% from $880.1 million in the year-earlier period.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting, on average, a profit of 5 cents on revenues of $903.68 million.

“Our diverse portfolio of brands and countries has once again allowed us to deliver on our goal of consistent growth,” said Mattel CEO Robert Eckert, adding that the company is “well positioned to improve operating margin and deliver strong cash flow” through the year.

Sales were fueled across all its regions, with revenues up 7% in the U.S. and 10% in international markets, led by sales growth of Mattel Girls & Boys Brands and Barbie brand, up 15% and 14%, respectively.

Demand for its Monster High, Disney Princess and American Girl doll lines widened worldwide, as did its Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tyco brands. Entertainment games and toys related to the movies CARS, Green Lantern and Toy Story also contributed.

Slightly offsetting the improvements was a 2% drop in Fisher-Price brands, due primarily to the discontinuation of its Sesame Street products.

Given the earnings growth, the company’s board of directors declared a second-quarter dividend of 23 cents a share, payable on June 17 to shareholders of record on May 25. The dividend is the second of four quarter payments expected to be made this year.