After a strong fourth quarter, in which Mattel reported its biggest year-over-year Q4 improvement in a decade, the California-based toymaker saw its gross sales in Q1 2019 fall once more. Gross sales dropped 2% to US$780.1 million due in part to weakness in its American Girl brand.
American Girl fell 32% to US$45.6 million in the first quarter, a period that included Mattel’s announcement that it is partnering with MGM to develop a live-action film based on the brand.
Sales for Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends, meanwhile, declined 8% to US$172.4 million, with Mattel’s infant/toddler/preschool segment dropping 15% to the tune of US$193.6 million.
And while sales for power brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels saw bumps in Q1, overall the toyco saw declines in gross sales for its dolls and vehicles segments. Barbie sales increased 7% to US$163.5 million as events and products surrounding the doll’s 60th anniversary began rolling out. Despite Barbie’s success, Mattel’s dolls segment fell 2% to US$252.9 million. Similarly, Hot Wheels saw an increase of 4% to US$150.5 million, but the toyco’s vehicles segment reported sales of US$183.4 million (down 3%).
One segment that did see a significant increase in the first quarter was the toymaker’s action figures/building sets/games segment, which was up 18% to US$150.3 million thanks to strength from Toy Story 4 and Jurassic World products.
Overall, gross sales in North America were up 6% to US$369.4 million, also thanks to growth in several segments, including action figures/building sets/games (Toy Story 4 and Jurassic World), dolls (Barbie) and vehicles (Hot Wheels). Internationally, gross sales fell 5% to US$365.2 million due to a decline in Mattel’s infant/toddler/preschool segment (including Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends).