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Barbie and other dolls boost Mattel's 3Q results

Women with their children visit Barbie toys on

Women with their children visit Barbie toys on display for sale at the Kids Fun Expo in Beijing. Mattel, the largest U.S. toy maker with many popular brands, has fared better than its competitors. (July 25, 2013) Credit: AP

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Mattel's third-quarter net income rose 16 percent, buoyed by demand for dolls like Monster High and Barbie as well as strength domestically and abroad.

The results come as toy makers gear up for the holiday season, which can account for up to half of their annual revenue. Toy sales overall have been weak in North America, Europe and Australia, due to a lax video game market, an uncertain economy and the continued popularity of smartphones and tablets. But Mattel, the largest U.S. toy maker, and its popular brands has fared better than its rivals.

"Mattel delivered growth in every region of the world, expanded our operating margins, further strengthened our balance sheet and returned more capital to our shareholders," chief executive Bryan G. Stockton said in a statement.

Barbie, the No. 1 doll brand, reversed four straight quarters of sales decline to rise 3 percent during the quarter. Dolls continue to be a strong category, with sales of Mattel's Monster High and American Girl also rising.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, Mattel earned $422.8 million, or $1.21 per share, up from $365.9 million, or $1.04 per share, in the prior-year period. Revenue rose 6 percent to $2.21 billion from $2.08 billion. -- AP

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