Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out strong quarterly results from Hasbro.
The No. 2 toymaker behind Mattel said quarterly net profit nearly tripled while revenue jumped 8.2 percent. The maker of Littlest Pet Shop said it got the biggest boost from girls and preschoolers, with sales jumping 16 percent and 18 percent respectively.
Some of the gain came from favorable currency exchange rates, but even excluding that factor, revenue was up 5 percent. Mattel also posted stronger-than-expected quarterly results.
Sales of products for boys only rose 3 percent, but Hasbro is expecting more gains from toys tied to the releases of two movies — “Iron Man 2″ and “Toy Story 3″ — this year. Its lineup for 2012 is stronger, with “Stretch Armstrong,” “Battleship,” “The First Avenger: Captain America” and “Spider-Man 4″ movies all slated for release that year.
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Check out the stronger-than-anticipated results from Mattel.
The toy giant notched a 12 percent jump in sales and a surprise profit in its latest quarter, sending a strong signal that toys are getting year-round attention, not just a holiday season boost.
Barbie’s sales rose 5 percent and some newer items, such as the World Wresting Entertainment and Thomas and Friends collections, were very good sellers, Mattel said. (That’s Triple H showing off his WWE action figure at Toy Fair earlier this year)
Check out how hard it is to figure out how well the economy is progressing, based on the earnings of consumer goods companies.
Toymaker Hasbro had a stellar fourth quarter, handily beating Wall Street’s expert forecasts, and said it expected its streak to continue in 2010. Hasbro got a lift from toys tied in with the hit “Transformers” movie and is expected to get even more help from characters such as Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird under a 10-year deal signed last month with the Sesame Workshop.
Check out Mattel reporting a smaller-than-expected decline in third-quarter revenue as the toymaker sees gains in its Hot Wheels and American Girl brands.
Profit fell to $229.8 million, or 63 cents a share, from $238.1 million, or 65 cents a share, a year earlier. Net sales fell 8 percent to $1.79 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $1.78 billion.
As retailers gear up for the all-important holiday season, two industry veterans predicted what would be hot in toy land this year.Looking at the ‘hot toys” list from Jim Silver and Christopher Byrne of toy Web site TimetoPlayMag.com, it appears that even indulgent parents still don’t want to pay too much for a toy — with the exception of the Beatles Rock Band video game.That could put pressure on toy makers and retailers who have been cutting down on inventory and focusing on making and selling affordable toys to please consumers.The push may be vital, given the 2008 holiday season turned into one of the worst in nearly 40 years as the economic crisis bore down on shoppers.The complete “hot toys” list includes:Mattel’s Barbie Fashionistas dolls, Rocky the Robot truck, and the tween Dora, Crayola’s Crayon Town, Hasbro’s Candy Land Sweet Celebration game, a Nerf blaster gun and Transformers Constructicon Devastator battle vehicle, Cepia’s Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters, Bakugan 7-in-1 Maxus Helios playing cards and characters, MEGA brands’ Battle Strikers, Techno Source’s Printies, Spin Master’s Air Hogs Switchblade flyer, Jakks Pacific Eyeclops Night Vision Goggles and Girl Gourmet Sweet Candy Jewelry Factory, Lego’s Star Wars and the Beatles Rock Band video game.(Photo/Reuters)
Specialty toy retailer Toys “R” Us issued its take on what this holiday season’s hot toys will be, as it prepares to attract toy shoppers one year after what was the worst holiday sales season in nearly 40 years.
This year, retailers and toy makers alike have focused keenly on prices, understanding that consumers may not be prepared to shell out hundreds of dollars for toys since caution rules their spending.
Tim Conder, an analyst with Wells Fargo Securities, said toy shares continue to offer the best “risk/reward” as those in his coverage, like Mattel, Hasbro and RC2 Corp, continue to gain relative market share.
“Despite on-going consolidation among retailers and investor concern about growing major retailer ‘clout’ via pricing pressure and private label toys, major toy manufacturers have gained share. Why?” Conder asked in his note.
Modelworks, a company that makes models of anything from planes to action figures is expected to unveil its version of Madoff, an accused perpetrator of a $50 billion investment scam, at the 2009 Toy Fair in New York’s Jacob Javits Center, the Toy Industry Association said on its website.
Check out the falling profits at Whirlpool and Hasbro.
Whether the ovens you make cook with gas like Whirlpool’s or with a light bulb like Hasbro’s Easy-Bake, it’s hard to make much money when people don’t want to buy anything.
Whirlpool profit fell 76 percent in the fourth quarter as sales in North America dropped 18 percent. The world’s biggest appliance maker also said it expected industrywide shipments of appliances to fall 10 percent in 2009.
Hasbro, which makes littler appliances, as well as G.I. Joes and Transformers, saw a 30 percent drop in quarterly profit as shoppers bought fewer toys for the holidays.
The company plans to focus on cutting costs this year, as are many, if not most companies in the United States.
But wait, is that G.I. Joe coming to the rescue? A G.I. Joe movie this year is expected to help lift sales of the action figures and other toys Hasbro sells under those names.
Perhaps they can work some kitchen scenes into the script and help out Whirlpool. C’mon, at least a trash compactor to deal with the bad guys?
Also in the basket:
McDonald’s same-store sales rise
Saks upends luxury market with strategy to slash prices (WSJ)
(Reuters photo from 2002)
Hasbro, the second-largest toymaker, thinks it has what cash-strapped shoppers need in 2009: A lineup of new card games priced at around $7.
They include Scrabble Slam and Monopoly Deal, which play off the original board games and aim to entertain stay-at-home consumers in a recession-mired economy.