Mattel profits fall 5.2% in third quarter on weak worldwide sales

Monday, October 18th 2004, 10:20 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Mattel Inc., the world's biggest toymaker, said Monday its third-quarter profit fell 5.2 percent due to lower worldwide sales of its flagship Barbie doll line and its Hot Wheels and Matchbox toy car brands.

The El Segundo-based company reported net income of $255.9 million, or 61 cents a share, in the third quarter, down from $270 million, or 61 cents a share, last year.

Mattel said worldwide net sales for the quarter were $1.67 billion, down 2 percent from $1.70 billion in the same period last year.

Also Monday, Mattel's biggest rival Hasbro Inc. reported revenue fell in the third quarter as sales in its domestic toy and games segments slipped. Sales were $947.3 million for the quarter, down about 2 percent from the $971.1 million generated a year ago.

Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro reported higher earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 26 compared with results depressed by a $17.3 million accounting charge a year ago. Hasbro earned $88.7 million, or 45 cents per share, for the quarter compared to $68.5 million, or 38 cents a share, last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for earnings of 51 cents a share for the latest quarter for Hasbro and 60 cents per share for Mattel.

In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Mattel shares were down 59 cents, or 3.3 percent, at $17.38 while Hasbro shares sank 85 cents, or 4.6 percent, at $17.61.

Mattel's U.S. gross sales were down 9 percent and international gross sales rose 6 percent, including a benefit from changes in currency exchange rates of 4 percentage points.

``Earnings per share for the quarter was flat with prior year reflecting that the underlying performance of our business remains quite challenging,'' Robert A. Eckert, Mattel's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. ``As consumers respond to economic uncertainty, many retailers have been reluctant to take inventory risk for the holiday season.''

Worldwide gross sales for the Mattel Brands business division, which includes the Barbie brand, were $1.06 billion, down 9 percent compared with a year ago. Worldwide gross sales of Barbie brand toys declined 13 percent.

Gross sales worldwide of Hot wheels, Matchbox and Tyco R/C toys fell 3 percent. Sales for Mattel's entertainment segment, which includes games, puzzles, were up 13 percent.

The Fisher-Price Brands unit's worldwide gross sales totaled $683.1 million, up 7 percent. Worldwide gross sales for the American Girl division came to $61.5 million, up 9 percent.