Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out the Island of Misfit Toy Earnings.
Mattel bumped along like a train with square wheels in the fourth quarter, posting a 46 percent drop in earnings for the quarter that includes the key holiday selling season.
Sales fell 11 percent, a particularly bad sign given the idea that parents would sacrifice shopping for themselves in order to buy toys for their children during the holidays.
Granted, part of the sales decline was due to the rising dollar, which hurts the value of sales outside the United States.
But U.S. sales also fell 6 percent. And Barbie is really sagging, with a 21 percent drop in sales. Maybe her age is showing. She does hit 50 this year.
“Our business wasn’t immune from the deteriorating economic environment of 2008,” CEO Robert Eckert said in a statement.
Rival toymaker Hasbro will report next week. But at least it has that Monopoly money to cover any shortfalls.
Also in the basket:
Bharti Wal-Mart picks name for cash-and-carry stores
Tough times for luxury watches (WWD, subscription required)
Elmo Live is Fisher-Price’s latest version of the Sesame Street fixture, after Tickle Me Elmo in 1996 and TMX Elmo in 2006. Fisher-Price is a unit of top U.S. toymaker Mattel Inc.
This holiday season, Apple’s pink 8 GB iPod nano, Nintendo’s Wii Fit and the Fisher-Price Sesame Street Elmo Live toy are topping the list of most sought-after toys.