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Mattel fourth-quarter profit falls as Barbie sales drop again

Barbie sales fall 12%

Mattel Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit plunged as the struggling toy maker dealt with waning interest in its leggy Barbie doll and other core brands.

The El Segundo company on Friday gave a deeper look at its weak holiday season, which prompted the resignation this week of Chief Executive and Chairman Bryan Stockton.

Barbie, which has suffered more than two years of sales declines in North America, reported an additional 12% drop in the fourth quarter. American Girl slid 4%. The infant and toddler line Fisher-Price was down 11%. One bright spot was Hot Wheels, which was up 5%. 

Mattel said net income fell 59% to $149.9 million, or 44 cents a share, in the three months ended Dec. 31. Sales dropped 6% to $2 billion, the fifth consecutive quarter of declines. 

For the year, Mattel reported a profit of $498.9 million, or $1.45 a share, down 45% from $903.9 million, or $2.58 a share, in 2013. Sales dropped 7% to $6 billion.

Christopher Sinclair, the newly appointed chairman and interim chief executive, said he is focusing on improving performance and reviving brands.

"We are disappointed with our results but moving forward with a heightened sense of urgency," he said in a statement.

Analysts say Mattel has been suffering from an innovation problem and had few toys on the market that captured the interest of fickle young consumers during the crucial holiday gift-buying season.

Stockton, who had led the toy maker since 2012, failed to turn around the company. His resignation was announced Monday. Mattel is looking inside and outside the company for a new CEO, spokesman Alex Clark said.

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