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Hasbro posts 1Q loss, revenue declines

PAWTUCKET, R.I. - Hasbro Inc. posted a first-quarter loss on Monday mostly on hefty severance costs as revenue declined. The results from the maker of Monopoly and Transformers missed Wall Street estimates.

The nation's second biggest toy company experienced soft sales in its games and girls' products, but its preschool and boys' segments experienced higher sales.

The preschool category benefited from strong sales of Sesame Street and Playskool Rescue Heroes products, including the Transformers Rescue Bots. Its boys' category was helped by strong sales of its Marvel and Star Wars brands as well as its new construction toy line, KRE-O.

The first quarter is typically quiet for toy makers, especially compared with the run-up to the crucial holiday season. But first-quarter results do indicate how willing Americans are to spend on nonessential items.

President and chief executive Brian Goldner said in a statement that Hasbro still expects a higher percentage of its full-year revenue to come in the second half of the year as compared with previous years. The toy maker also anticipates that its 2012 earnings and revenue will climb, when removing the impact of foreign exchange rates.

The company based in Pawtucket, R.I., said it lost $2.6 million, or 2 cents per share, for the period ended April 1. A year ago, the Pawtucket, R.I., company reported net income of $17.2 million, or 12 cents per share.

Excluding 6 cents per share in severance costs, earnings were 4 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 8 cents per share.

There was one extra week in the current quarter.

Revenue dropped 3 percent to $648.9 million from $672 million a year ago, hurt by unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates. This missed Wall Street's estimate of $667.6 million.

Revenue slipped 16 percent for the U.S. and Canada, but rose 14 percent overseas. Entertainment and licensing revenue increased 19 percent.

Hasbro is looking forward to the months ahead, as it plans for movie tie-ins to its products, including "Battleship," which is tied to the popular Hasbro game and opens May 18. "Avengers" opens May 4, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" opens June 29 and "Spiderman" opens July 3.

Last week rival Mattel Inc., whose brands include Barbie and Hot Wheels, reported that its first-quarter profit declined, weighed down by lower sales and costs tied to an acquisition.

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