The first quarter of 2014 brought net losses of US$11.2 million for Mattel, as the world’s largest toymaker saw Barbie sales drop 14%. Meanwhile, Barbie’s American Girl and Ever After High sisters continues to rise in popularity.
Overall, worldwide net sales were US$946.2 million, down 5% compared to US$995.6 million last year. North American sales were down 2%, while global sales were down by 7%.
By brands, Barbie saw the biggest drop, followed by Fisher-Price with a 6% sales decline.
However, worldwide gross sales for Other Girls brands were up 4%, primarily driven by Disney Princess and Ever After High, and partially offset by Monster High.
Worldwide gross sales for the Entertainment business, which includes Radica and Games, were down 8%.
This was offset by a 5% rise in sales across American Girl dolls to US$105.9 million, as well as a 2% sales rise for Hot Wheels toys.
Typically a slower period for retailers following the holiday quarter, the first quarter followed already disappointing US sales during Mattel’s crucial fourth quarter. Tepid Barbie, Fisher-Price and Hot Wheel sales contributed to a 6% drop in global sales, while Disney Princess dolls were still a hot-selling ticket item over the holidays.
The company says it has made significant strides to continue to strengthen its girls portfolio, particularly driving its Ever After High doll business.
Mattel has also put the building blocks in place to boost its construction toy and arts & crafts presence, having purchased Montreal, Canada-based Mega Brands in February for US$460 million, including debt. Mega Brands pulled in sales of US$405 million last year, and according to research firm NPD, the company was among the top 15 toy companies in the world in terms of sales.