Shares rose yesterday after Mattel posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its first quarter. For the period ended March 31, the toy maker posted a 2% drop in net sales to US$922.7 million, which beat analysts’ estimates for the El Segundo-based toy maker.
As part of its well-documented turnaround efforts, the toyco also announced a crowdsourcing partnership with invention facilitator Quirky to help find the next hit toy, play pattern or baby gear.
The El Segundo, California-based toyco and New York City’s Quirky are inviting idea submissions for new toys, games and family products through Quirky’s online portal.
The idea-mining campaign aims to drive growth in Mattel’s core brands like Barbie, Fisher-Price and Hot Wheels, with an eye to release the first new products this holiday season.
As for its Q1 results, Mattel shares rose close to 7% in after-market trading yesterday, following the announcement. Mattel reported that gross sales in North America were up 8% in the first quarter, offset by a 14% decline in international markets impacted by fluctuating currency exchange rates.
By brand globally, Barbie was down 14%, while Fisher-Price posted a 3% drop in sales and Entertainment, which includes licensed toys, was down by 4%. The company notes that sales for Barbie were strong in the US, offset by a decline in international regions and currency fluctuations.
Its wheels category, which include Hot Wheels and Matchbox, was up by 1% and American Girl sales were flat at roughly US$106 million.
The results are the first reported under new CEO Christopher Sinclair, who previously served as interim CEO following the abrupt January departure of Bryan Stockton.
Sinclair reports the company is starting to see progress for its core brands Barbie and Fisher-Price, as Mattel took a number of steps in Q1 to implement a “rapid turnaround.” He also emphasized a refocusing of the company’s culture on creativity, innovation around toy design (like the deal with Quirky) and improving speed-to-market.
Also in January, the company expanded Richard Dickson’s role to president and chief operating officer. Previously as GM and SVP of Barbie, Dickson was known for his work in revitalizing the Barbie brand.
With files from Patrick Callan