Barbie-Crayola
Consumer Products

Mattel’s global revenue fell 11% in 2017

Despite a 9% boost in Barbie sales during the holiday period, the US toymaker's worldwide net sales fell by double digits to US$4.88 billion in 2017.
February 2, 2018

In a year that saw the naming of a new company CEOand Toys “R” Us filing for bankruptcy protectionUS toymaker Mattel is reporting a double-digit decline in gross sales for fiscal 2017.

Mattel’s yearly worldwide net sales fell by 11% to US$4.88 billion, and the company reported gross sales of US$5.51 billion (down 9% as reported and down 10% in constant currency). The toymaker also reported declines for Q4 2017, with net sales down 12% to US$1.61 billion and gross sales declining by 8% to US$1.92 billion.

For fiscal 2017, worldwide gross sales for Mattel’s Girls & Boys Brands were US$3.1 billion (down 4% compared to 2016). The fourth quarter, however, saw Mattel’s global gross sales for Girls & Boys Brands increase by 1% to US$1.1 billion. Global gross sales for the Barbie brand in 2017 were down 2% to US$955 million, primarily due to a shift in DVD entertainment strategy. Barbie’s Q4 gross sales, however, increased by 9% to US$349 million as a result of shopping aligning with strong POS.

Worldwide gross sales for Other Girls Brands were US$298 million (down 36%) for the year, driven by declines in Monster High and Ever After High (these dips were partially offset by initial sales of Enchantimals). Global gross sales for the category during the fourth quarter fell by 35% to US$103 million due to decreased demand for Monster High and DC Super Hero Girls.

American Girl Brands saw gross sales of US$451.5 million for fiscal 2017, down 21% compared to 2016. Q4 results declined by 23% to US$217.3 million, driven largely by lower sales across channels.

The Wheels category saw declines of 4% (with global gross sales of US$847 million), and the category’s gross sales for Q4 were down 7% to US$284 million.

Global gross sales for Mattel’s Entertainment business, however, were up by 12% to US$978 million, due in large part to increases in Cars sales. In Q4 2017, worldwide gross sales for Entertainment rose by 21% to US$323 million, with growth once again driven largely by Cars (this increase was offset by declines in Dinotrux and Minecraft).

Fisher-Price Brands–including the Fisher-Price Core, Fisher-Price Friends and Power Wheels brands–saw worldwide gross sales of US$1.7 billion for fiscal 2017 (down 11%). Declines in infant and preschool products, as well as Thomas & Friends, contributed to the losses. In the fourth quarter, gross sales were down 12% to US$533.8 million.

For the fiscal year, worldwide gross sales for Mattel’s Construction and Arts & Crafts Brands dropped by 29% to US$269.5 million. Fourth quarter results for the brands–which include Mega Bloks and RoseArt–were US$93.5 million (down 25% compared to Q4 2016).

In North America, both net sales and gross sales for 2017 decreased by 17% (to US$2.82 billion and US$3.01 billion, respectively), driven by underperforming brands and the Toys “R” Us bankruptcy filing.

Internationally, net sales for the fiscal year were flat, while gross sales increased by 2% to US$2.5 billion. International growth for fiscal 2017 was driven by Latin American (with net sales up 1% to US$568 million and gross sales up 4% to US$675 million) and Asia Pacific (with net sales up 3% to US$453 million and gross sales up 5% to US$546 million).

The toymaker’s reported operating loss for fiscal 2017 was US$342.8 million while adjusted operating loss for the year was US$167.1 million. For Q4 2017, Mattel’s reported operating loss was US$252.8 million while adjusted operating loss for the quarter was US$164.8 million.

As of December 31, 2017, Mattel’s debt-to-debt capital ratio was 71.3%. According to Mattel’s CEO Margo Georgiadis, the company has taken “aggressive action” to enter 2018 with a clean slate in order to improve profitability. Following the company’s Q3 results, Mattel announced its quarterly dividend would be suspended beginning in Q1 2018 in an effort to increase financial flexibility, strengthen the balance sheet and facilitate strategic investments. The suspension of the quarterly dividend–previously US$0.15 per share–is expected to result in US$50 million per quarter in additional liquidity.

Late last year, Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based Hasbro reportedly approached Mattel with a potential takeover offer, but no deal has materialized. 

About The Author
Elizabeth Foster is Kidscreen's Copy Chief & Special Reports Editor. Contact Elizabeth at efoster@brunico.com

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