Mattel’s global sales down 5% in Q4

The largest toymaker in the US also saw global sales drop by 3% in fiscal 2016, but its American Girl and Wheels brands brought some holiday cheer.
January 26, 2017

Capping off a year marked by the loss of its Disney Princess license to Hasbro, Mattel banked weaker-than-expected sales during the 2016 holiday period.

In Q4, the largest toymaker in the US reported a 5% drop in global sales to US$2.08 billion, due in large part to a nationwide toy category slowdown over the holidays. According to Mattel CEO Christopher Sinclair, who will be replaced by Margo Georgiadis next month, an uncertain economic climate spurred elevated retail promotional activity and decreased shipping, all of which had an impact on the company’s gross margins. 

Overall, the company’s full-year global gross sales fell 3% to U$6.07 billion.

Looking more closely, Mattel’s Barbie brand, which saw sales rise by 23% in Q2 and 16% in Q3, dropped 2% in global sales in Q4. For fiscal 2016, however, the brand saw its worldwide sales climb by 7% to US$971.8 million.

Also in fiscal 2016, Mattel’s Fisher-Price and Wheels brands had sales growth— 2% and 6%, respectively—while Girls and Boys brands dropped by 8% to US$3.19 billion.

Worldwide fiscal 2016 gross sales for Other Girls brands, which includes Disney Princess and Monster High, were down by 52%. This was offset by a 13% sales gain in Mattel’s Entertainment business, which includes Radica and Games.

For the year, worldwide gross sales for American Girl Brands, which offers American Girl-branded products directly to consumers, remained flat at US$570.8 million, but the category saw a 4% rise in Q4 to US$283.9 million.

2016 gross sales for Construction and Arts & Crafts Brands, which includes MEGA BLOKS and RoseArt, were US$377.6 million, up 7% as reported, but Q4 gross sales were down 4% to US$124.8 million.

The Wheels brand, however, experienced growth in Q4, rising 13% to US$306.1 million, though Fisher-Price was down 3% to US$607.7 million in the holiday period.

North American gross sales and net sales were down in both Q4 (5% and 7%) and overall in 2016 (1% and 2%). In Latin America, gross sales dropped 5% in Q4 and 10% overall, and European gross sales fell 7% in Q4 and 9% overall.

Mattel did see growth in Asia Pacific, however, with gains of 5% in gross sales in Q4 for a total of US$173.9 million. The region’s sales also grew 3% for a total of US$517.8 million in 2016.

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