NEW YORK: Mattel beat estimates for quarterly sales on Tuesday (Feb 9) as parents splurged on Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars for their children during a holiday season that was dulled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The toymaker has seen a surge in sales since the latter half of 2020 as the easing of coronavirus-led curbs drove toy stores to restock their shelves and cater to young families dealing with canceled vacations and a dearth of social events.
That jump in sales may be hard to repeat in 2021, Mattel Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz told Reuters in an interview.
"We do expect to deliver strong sales growth in the first half (of 2021) compared to last year, but it will probably be more challenging in terms of comparison in the second half," Kreiz said.
The toymaker said worldwide gross billings for Barbie, Mattel's biggest brand, rose 19 per cent in the fourth quarter, while Hot Wheels billings rose 13 per cent. Gross billings excludes sales adjustments such as trade discounts.
Mattel's overall net sales rose about 10 per cent to US$1.63 billion for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, beating analysts' estimates of US$1.58 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Rival Hasbro Inc reported a 3.6 per cent increase in comparable holiday quarter revenue on Monday, also beating analysts estimates on demand for board games such as Monopoly, as well toys based on The Mandalorian TV series.
Mattel reported adjusted earnings of 40 cents per share, up from 11 cents per share a year earlier.
The company also announced a new cost-cutting program, aimed at saving about US$250 million in costs by 2023. Mattel said it expects to spend between US$100 million to US$125 million to implement it.