Hot Wheels
Consumer Products

With its 2015 sales up, Mattel acquires Fuhu & Sproutling

With Mattel's sales up 1% to US$6.28 billion for fiscal 2015, the toy giant has completed the acquisitions of tablet-maker Fuhu and smart baby-monitor maker Sproutling.
February 2, 2016

Fourth quarter  and year-end 2015 numbers are in for toy giant Mattel, and gross sales were up 3% to US$2.19 billion in Q4 and 1% to US$6.28 billion for the year.

Mattel’s Hot Wheels brand saw the biggest increase in Q4, with sales up 28% in constant currency, followed by Entertainment at 16%, Fisher-Price at 13% and Barbie at 8%. Meanwhile, it’s American Girl brand saw a 14% decline in sales and all Other Girls Brands fell by 28%, while Construction and Arts & Crafts brands were flat.

Looking at the same brands and categories for the full calendar, Hot Wheels was up 21%, followed by Construction and Arts & Crafts brands at 11.65%, Fisher-Price at 7% and Entertainment at 1%. Barbie sales fell by 1%, while American Girl declined by 7%, and all Other Girls Brands dropped 17%.

As to the domestic versus international breakdown, North American sales increased by 5% in constant currency to US$1.31 billion in Q4 and by 1% to US3.68 billion in 2015. International sales, on the other hand, were flat in Q4 at just under US$900 billion, increasing by 1% for the year to US$2.6 billion.

However, the mixed bag of results is not all bad news for the company that recently restructured its management team following a protracted period of declining sales. Mattel reports that  it is continuing to progress in a number of key areas and has achieved its goal of stabilizing the business in Q4 and for the full-year, following a less than stellar Q3.

Looking ahead, Mattel has just significantly strengthened its digital reach with the completion of the purchase of tablet-maker Fuhu as well as smart baby monitor maker Sproutling.

According to Mattel, the acquisitions of Fuhu and Sproutling are big steps towards better positioning the company as the global leader in play, learning and development.

By bringing Fuhu, which is best known for its nabi learning systems, and Sproutling, a smart technology company that designs wearable baby products, into the fold, Mattel will be able to tap into their leading technology platforms and combine them with its strengths in manufacturing, distribution and brand development.

Sproutling will continue to develop and release products under the Sproutling brand, as well as co-design and develop products for Mattel’s portfolio of brands.

Furthermore, things seem to be looking up for Mattel which had four of the top 10 toys in 2015, according to The NPD Group. The toyco also has high hopes for the new DC Super Hero Girls franchise, which launched in the fall with Mattel on-board as master toy partner.

About The Author
Patrick Callan is a senior writer at Kidscreen. He reports on the licensing and consumer products side of the global children's entertainment industry via daily news coverage and in-depth features. Contact Patrick at pcallan@brunico.com.

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