TOYMAKER’S 4Q CRASHES AS ECONOMY HITS DOLL BUSINESS
Selling a 50-year-old icon to the seven-year-old set likely wasn’t going to be a cakewalk anyway. But this probably wasn’t the way Mattel (MAT) would have wanted to open the campaign.
The toymaker, preparing to launch an anniversary effort to make its half-century-old Barbie product more relevant and appealing to a consumer easily distracted by videos, games and all things digital, posted a fourth quarter that’s nothing short of forgettable - if not outright regrettable. Net fell 46%, as margins declined and internationl sales slumped.
Earnings missed forecasts by a huge margin - coming in at 49 cents a share, versus projections of 76 cents, as the company’s net plunged 46% on a year-over-year basis. Revenue came up short of forecasts, hurt, in part, by the performance of the dollar.
Still, this wasn’t any kind of mechanical, currency-driven shortfall. This is a dismal company, with a poorly performing product line and a management that’s willing to blame the economy, rathing than figure out how to turn around its signature products. ”Barbie” - at least as a brand - is a global icon. Yet, sales plunged 21% year-over-year. The 50th anniversary has the mournful sound of a funeral dirge associated with it. The year promises to be less a celebration, more like a wake.
Shares opened 18% lower.
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