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TOYS & GAMES

Summer or Not, Mattel and Hasbro Still Feeling Frozen

By Marcy Magiera

The extent to which the world’s largest toy companies are reliant on entertainment/character licenses is crystal clear in a side-by-side Q2 comparison of giants Mattel and Hasbro. (We added Jakks Pacific to the chart for fun and to further illustrate the point).

Two years after the property stormed retail, both companies are still feeling the Frozen effect: Hasbro for the good –its second quarter girls’ toy sales climbed 35% over the year earlier period—while Mattel was negatively hit. Mattel lost its Frozen license to Hasbro and second quarter sales of all girls’ toys except for Barbie dove 60%. Moving into holiday 2016, Jakks Pacific has high hopes for its new large scale doll, Northern Lights Elsa, whose skirt lights up.

Disney’s Frozen Northern Lights is an original story from the kingdom of Arendelle spanning a collection of books, animated shorts from the LEGO Group and new digital extensions.

Mattel will get its chance at payback, however. It recently won Universal’s master toy license for Jurassic World from Hasbro. The change will take effect next year, leading up to the next Jurassic World theatrical installment in 2018.

In the meantime, Hasbro will continue working its boys’ brands through products supporting the December theatrical release Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  Potentially more gender neutral are toys for Trolls, which DreamWorks Animation will release in November, and the second season of Yo-Kai Watch on Disney XD.

Comparison Between Top Toy Co.’s Performance, Q2
Period Mattel Hasbro Jakks Pacific
Q2 performance: Overall Worldwide net sales declined 3% vs. prior year to $957.3 million. Worldwide net sales up 10% vs. prior year to $878.9 million. Worldwide net sales up 8% vs. prior year to $141.0 million.
Operating loss of $11.7 million, vs. operating income of 0.6 million in comparable 2015 period. Operating profit increased 12% to $52.1 million. Net loss narrowed to $4.4 million, from $5.7 million in the comparable 2015 period.
Q2 performance: Key product areas Worldwide gross sales for Girls & Boys Brands were $553.7 million, down 8%. Boys category revenues up 4% to $355.1 million, with strong sales of Nerf, Star Wars and Yo-Kai Watch brands. N/A
Barbie sales were up 23% due to the introduction of more diverse “Fashionistas” line, while sales for other girls’ brands fell 60%. Games category revenues up 8% to $227.7 million.
Fischer-Price Brands up 3%. Girls category revenues up 35% to $172.3 million, due to addition of Disney Princess and Disney’s Frozen brands (from Mattel), and growth from Baby Alive.
American Girl down 19%. Preschool up 5% to $123.9 million on growth in Play-doh brand.
Upcoming initiatives American Girl’s WellieWishers, a new content and doll brand is intended to appeal to younger girls ages 5 to 7. Disney/Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls open in theaters in the fall, with toy tied to those brands. The second half will bring Northern Lights Elsa, the next iteration of Jakks’ large-scale Frozen dolls, with a light show on the doll’s dress; and Princess Magical Wand Cinderella
Awarded worldwide master toy license (from Hasbro) for Jurassic World beginning in July 2017. Yo-Kai Watch beginning its second season with 50 new episodes on Disney XD. Shows features new Hasbro products. Plus new products from properties Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, DC Universe, Nintendo and Disney’s new girl characters Elena and Moana.

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