Hasbro: Monopoly contest helps boost revenue
Hasbro reported first-quarter results Monday that beat Wall Street expectations as the toy maker benefited from an online contest that let people vote to eliminate one of its Monopoly tokens and introduce a new one.
The Pawtucket, R.I., maker of G.I. Joe, My Little Pony and Transformers said revenue rose for three of its four categories: games, girls and preschool. Its boys category continued to face troubles, with sales down 20 percent.
Rival Mattel, which is the world's biggest toy maker with its Barbie dolls, also reported better-than-expected results last week, as strong sales of dolls like Monster High, Disney Princess and American Girl helped more than quadruple net income.
Hasbro, meanwhile, said growth in its girls category for the period was driven by Furby, My Little Pony and One Direction. Play-Doh helped boost its preschool category and action games such as Angry Birds Star Wars helped fuel growth in the games category.
The company also noted that the Monopoly contest was "tremendously successful" and that it plans to follow up with new versions of the game.
The Facebook campaign earlier this year let people vote to eliminate one of the eight tokens that identify the players and introduce a new one. Ultimately, a cat token replaced the iron.
Toy makers are looking to adapt and reinvent old brands as the industry faces a slowdown in developed markets such as the United States and Europe, where mobile devices and electronics are stealing attention away from toys.
Hasbro has embarked on a cost-cutting program to maintain profitability, including a push to slash its workforce by 10 percent. The move also includes consolidating facilities and reducing the number of product extensions.
For the quarter, Hasbro lost $6.7 million, or 5 cents per share, compared with a loss of $2.6 million, or 2 cents per share, a year ago.
Hasbro shares rose $1.53 to close at $46.55 Monday.