Saturday, April 18, 2015

Barbie Doll maker, Mattel Inc., gets innovative as shares rise despite overseas market loss

Mattel Inc, (NASDAQ:MAT) the US producer of toys, notably the iconic Barbie doll, has reported a first quarter loss for 2015 due to a losing popularity of its toys. This is a sixth consecutive quarter sales drop from its overseas sales outlets. US sales showed an increase of 8% but overseas sales a decrease of 14%.

The loss though is a narrow gain over what was expected – 8 cents per share compared to 9 cents per share as was expected for the Fortune 500 company. This is better than expected.

At the end of business on Thursday, April 16, Mattel’s shares rose by 6.7% to $26.95 on moderate volume.

The waning popularity of Mattel’s toys and dolls is a sign of consumer shifting tastes. Substitutes for the toys include electronic toys, tablets and merchandise from popular films such as Disney's "Frozen", along with competition from rivals Hasbro and Denmark's Lego. To regain competitive advantage, Mattel is looking to improving its creativity, innovative capability and speed to market.

Barbie dolls, waning in popularity.
Credit: Freddycat1 on Flickr

According to Mattel Chairman and CEO, Christopher Sinclair:
We are already benefitting from better decision-making, alignment and enhanced accountability. And we’ve begun to refocus our culture on creativity, innovation and improving our speed to market. While we still have a lot of work to do, we’re starting to see progress with our core brands like Barbie and Fisher-Price, and I am confident we are making the changes necessary to perform better in the future.
Christopher Sinclair is replacement for the former CEO, Bryan Stockton, who was fired in January.

Mattel has also been in talks with Quirky, a company that turns ideas to business based on crowd sourcing. While the Quirky partnership could help give Mattel a fresh take on toys and possibly yield a hit or two, these partnerships often account for only a small part of the large companies’ overall businesses.

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