As toymakers continue to attribute ongoing declines to the liquidation of Toys “R” Us, Mattel is reporting a 41% increase in operating income (to US$122 million) for Q3 2018 over the same quarter last year. It’s the first time the US toyco has posted year-over-year growth in eight quarters.
But net sales for the period look less rosy, falling 8% to US$1.44 billion. North American net sales grew 4% to US$825.6 million, while international net sales declined 18% to US$551.1 million, driven primarily by lower sales for Fisher-Price, Thomas & Friends and Cars. Europe (down 14%), Latin America (down 14%) and global emerging markets (down 31%) all reported net sales shortfalls for Q3 2018.
Worldwide gross sales for Mattel Power Brands fell 5% to US$1.08 billion. Hot Wheels posted gross sales of US$235 million (down 6%), while Barbie saw its gross sales rise 14% to US$374.7 million. Mattel anticipates Barbie will continue to grow as the brand approaches its 60th anniversary in 2019.
Gross sales for the Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends brands were down 12% to the tune of US$409.5 million. The American Girl segment also experienced a dip (down 31% to US$64.3 million) due to lower sales in proprietary retail and direct channels, as well as a shift away from external distribution channels.
Mattel’s Toy Box brands, including its Owned Brands and Partner Brands, declined 9% to US$523.2 million. Owned Brands saw gross sales drop 1%, while Partner Brands fell 17% after the success of Cars 3 products in Q3 2017.
Adjusted EBITDA for the period was US$232.4 million, compared to US$197.7 million in the same period last year.
Growth in Mattel’s third quarter follows hot on the heels of two new business units—the global franchise management division will unify functions such as content development and distribution, consumer products, digital gaming and live events, while Mattel Films will focus on developing and producing movies inspired by the toyco’s franchises.
In the company’s earnings call, Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz said the company has made meaningful progress toward restoring profitability and is on track to achieve its US$650-million savings target for structural simplification.
After its worldwide net sales fell 14% to US$840.7 million in Q2, Mattel announced it would cut more than 2,200 jobs, representing 22% of its global non-manufacturing workforce. Since then, its competitors in the toy space have announced similar plans. Hasbro intends to make “meaningful organizational changes” that will affect a single-digit percentage of its global workforce, and Jakks Pacific has initiated a plan to reduce its global workforce and consolidate operations in 2019.