Mattel's First-Quarter Earnings Rise on Solid Sales

mattel earnings toy sales
Alan Diaz/APBarbie products on display at a toy store in Hialeah, Fla., in July 2012. Mattel on Wednesday reported higher earnings on improved sales of its products.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Mattel's first-quarter net income more than quadrupled, as sales of Monster High and American Girl products rose.

The first-quarter is the seasonally smallest for toy makers, coming after the busy holiday quarter. The latest earnings increase was helped by comparison with a period that included a big charge a year ago.

"We continue to see the first quarter as our pre-season and we remain focused on a strong 2013 and delivering in the all-important holiday season," Chairman and CEO Bryan Stockton said in a statement.

The world's largest toy maker's net income for the January-to-March quarter totaled $38.5 million, or 11 cents a share. That's up from $7.8 million, or 2 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 8 cents a share.

The prior-year period's results were weighed down by costs tied to its $680 million acquisition of HIT Entertainment, the company behind Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder.

Revenue climbed 7 percent to $995.6 million from $928.4 million. Wall Street expected $984.2 million.

Mattel Inc. (MAT) saw solid sales across North America and overseas. American Girl gross sales increased 32 percent, while worldwide gross sales of other girls' brands -- which includes Monster High -- surged 56 percent.

Barbie's worldwide gross sales dipped 2 percent, marking the fourth time sales have fallen in the past five quarters. Sales for the Wheels category, which includes the Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tyco R/C brands, also fell 2 percent. For the Fisher Price brands, sales declined 7 percent.

Mattel also said Wednesday that it declared a second-quarter dividend of 36 cents a share. The dividend will be paid on June 14 to shareholders of record on May 23. The El Segundo, Calif. company anticipates an annualized dividend of $1.44 a share, which would be a 16 percent increase over last year's annualized dividend.

Mattel's smaller rival, Hasbro Inc. (HAS), reports its financial results on Monday.

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