Barbie sales slide; Mattel 2Q profit falls

Mattel said its second-quarter net income fell 24

Mattel said its second-quarter net income fell 24 percent, hurt by a continued slide in Barbie sales and a $14 million write-down on the toymaker's Polly Pocket line. (Credit: Bloomberg News, 2012)

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Vampy teen Monster High dolls are taking a bite out of squeaky-clean Barbie.

Mattel said Wednesday its second-quarter net income fell 24 percent, hurt by a continued slide in Barbie sales and a $14 million write-down on the toy maker's Polly Pocket line.

Its shares dropped more than 6 percent in trading Wednesday.

It was the fourth straight quarter of sales declines for Barbie, one of Mattel's biggest and most iconic brands, and Mattel executives said their Monster High and other girls doll lines were likely taking away some sales from the 54-year-old fashion doll.

Monster High dolls, which are based on teen characters that are offspring of famous monsters, have been a huge hit for Mattel since they were introduced in 2010. Monster High sales have likely grown to more than $500 million in just three years of existence, while Barbie annual sales are about $1.3 billion, estimates BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson. Other doll lines including American Girl and Disney Princesses have been performing well too.

"We've introduced new franchises that have fueled significant category growth for the industry," said CEO Bryan Stockton. "The Barbie brand is likely being modestly impacted by their successes." But Stockton noted that Barbie was still the largest doll brand and its sales are still higher than when Monster High was introduced in 2010.

He also said Barbie sales will likely pick up in the second half of the year when shipments of new products increase in time for the holiday season.

To mirror consumer fascination with all things digital, new Barbie products have taken on a distinctively techy tone: Holiday offerings include a $49.99 Barbie train and ride horse, which features an interactive horse; $69.99 Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror, which turns an iPad into an interactive mirror; and $49.99 Barbie Digital Dress Doll that features LED and touch screen technology, letting girls customize Barbie outfits digitally.

Mattel shares dropped $3.17, or 6.84 percent, to close at $43.16. They are about 12 percent below their high of $48.48 set in mid-May. They traded as low as $33.84 last July.

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