Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Holiday cheer in Barbie land


BARBIE/ANNIVERSARYCheck out more Barbie dolls making an appearance under the Christmas tree.

Mattel, the world’s largest toy maker, posted higher than expected profit for its quarter that included the holiday season, boosted by strong demand for its Fashionista Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars.

The company was also helped by tight cost controls and a weak U.S. dollar.

Mattel said worldwide gross sales for Barbie rose 12 percent, while Hot Wheels jumped 16 percent.

But at American Girl, sales were flat.

Could it be that while consumers might be feeling a little bit more confident, they are more comfortable paying $10 for a Barbie doll than $95 for an American Girl doll?

Also in the basket:

Walmart seeks efficiency in new U.S. structure

Newell posts profit despite lower sales

Fortune Brands tops view outlook falls short

Lauder, P&G flex marketing muscle (WWD, subscription required)

(Photo: Reuters)

Check Out Line: Losses in toyland


USA/Check Out the losses at Mattel, the world’s biggest toy company.

The maker of Barbie said its first-quarter loss widened and CEO Robert Eckert said Mattel would keep controlling costs as tough market conditions test the resilience of toy companies.

But one area where Mattel has not scrimped is on its worldwide campaign¬†to spotlight Barbie, its 50-year-old flagship doll, which has suffered months of weak sales as children’s taste in toys change.¬†