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Mattel profit slumps 24%; Barbie sales keep sliding

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Barbie seems to be losing ground as the queen bee of doll-dom, as sales of the Mattel Inc. figurine slipped for the fourth straight quarter.

Revenue from the fashion toy sank 12% in the second quarter, which ended June 30, the El Segundo-based company said Wednesday.

During the same period, other girl brands such as Monster High surged up 23%, the company said. Mattel’s American Girl line got a 14% boost.

The Fisher-Price product category took a 3% hit, while Hot Wheels tumbled 1%.

Overall, sales at the nation’s largest toymaker were up 1% to $1.17 billion, though revenue from North America softened 2%.

The company is doing heady business abroad, where a growing middle class helped sales swell 4%. Emerging-growth markets such as China, Russia and India “continue to prove to be fertile ground,” with revenue surging by double digits, Chief Executive Bryan G. Stockton said in a conference call with analysts.

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Mattel’s profit dove 24% to $73.3 million, or 21 cents a share, from $96.2 million, or 28 cents a share, during the same quarter in 2012.

The company’s stock was down 5%, or $2.33 cents, to $44 a share in late-morning trading in New York. Mattel also announced a 36-cent dividend on Wednesday.

Stockton said the company does two-thirds of its business in the second half of the year, which culminates in the holiday shopping craze.

“We consider the first half of the year our pre-season, and we tend not to read too much into the numbers,” he said. “Overall, the global toy industry came out of the first half of 2013 in pretty good shape.”

As for Barbie’s weakness, Stockton said cannibalization from Mattel’s other brands was partly to blame.

The 54-year-old doll is keeping up with competitors as it “continues to merge the latest trends with technology by focusing on innovation, customization and creative play,” Stockton said.

The company is planning to launch Barbie-related products featuring gesture-recognition software, virtual makeup on an iPad masquerading as a digital mirror, and LED and touchscreen technology.

The brand’s top four retailers have granted Barbie extra shelf space come fall, Stockton said.

MAT data by YCharts

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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