Mattel booked its strongest first-quarter revenues in six years, lifted by demand for Barbie dolls and Jurassic World action figures as a pandemic-fuelled boom in toy sales carried into 2021.
The toy maker’s net sales surged 47 per cent year on year, blowing past analysts’ expectations, with everything from American Girl dolls to Hot Wheels cars, Mega building sets and Uno card games flying off the shelves. In North America, gross sales of Barbie toys alone more than doubled.
Ynon Kreiz, chief executive, said Mattel also had a strong start to the second quarter, including Easter week, despite the effects of inflation in ocean freight and some materials.
While some of Mattel’s rapid growth in the first quarter can be attributed to weaker Covid-related comparisons, the company gained market share and recorded double-digit sales gains in each of the last three quarters.
“It shows we didn’t just ride the wave,” Kreiz said.
Toy sales have been on a tear during the pandemic, as parents scoop up dolls, plush animals and outdoor games to entertain their kids at home.
Fifty-two percent of US parents spent more on holiday gifts in 2020, led by toys and games, according to Kidz Global research cited by the Toy Association, a trade group. Mattel had a particularly strong fourth quarter, reporting its strongest holiday sales in four years.
Mattel continued to experience robust demand in the first three months of this year, in a sign of enduring demand at a time when economies are reopening and authorities are easing restrictions on social activity.
Demand in retail stores has picked up, while Mattel’s ecommerce business grew by more than half in the quarter, according to Kreiz.
Global doll revenues and sales of action figures, building sets, games and other items rose 69 per cent year on year. Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends toys drove sales of infant toys 31 per cent higher. Toy car sales gained 16 per cent.
Overall, Mattel registered net sales of $874m, up from last year’s $594m. Analysts were looking for $684m.
Mattel reported a net loss of $115m, compared with a $211m loss a year ago. The company lost 10 cents per share on an adjusted basis, better than the 35-cent loss that analysts expected.
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