California-based toy maker Jakks Pacific is anticipating a return to profitability this year, following tapering losses during its fourth quarter of 2013, after a year marred by a changing toy landscape that led to a company-wide restructuring.
Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 rose to US$137.7 million from US$133.5 million in the prior year. Net losses for the fourth quarter were US$16.1 million, which included a restructuring charge of US$5 million, compared to losses of US$119.5 million in 2012.
Not unlike its US toy competitor Hasbro, sales gains were closely linked to a spike in demand for girl-skewing brands. Disney Princess dolls and dress-up stemming from hit film Frozen, Sofia the First role play toys, Disney Fairies dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids were winners during the crucial holiday period, as were Black & Decker boys role play, large scale figures and activity tables.
Overall sales for 2013 were still down to US$632.9 million compared to US$666.8 million in 2012.
The year ahead will see the launch of the company’s large-scale figures based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars and the upcoming theatrical release of Godzilla, as well as the new Hero Portal TV Games platform. Girls will see more Disney licensed products.
In responding to the ongoing shift to digital play, Jakks released its Little Mermaid and miWorld toys with DreamPlay apps utilizing NantWorks’ recognition technology. The DreamPlay portfolio is expected to double in size in 2014, and the year will also see four new toy app initiatives, including a boys’ battling app tied to a consumer product activation that will involve key boys play patterns and a standalone app that creates a virtual pet.