Mattel feels COVID-19 impact in Q1 2020

A 14% decline in gross sales clouded over this quarter, but the toyco expects sunnier skies following the restoration of its manufacturing and distribution capacity.
May 6, 2020

Mattel is optimistic following a difficult first quarter that saw declines in nearly all of its toy categories. The California-based toymaker reported gross sales of US$670 million in Q1 2020, a 14% decline. Looking forward, Mattel reported its global manufacturing and distribution capacity has been restored following delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the toyco anticipates it will meet product demand for the second half of the year.

Mattel’s infant, toddler and preschool category saw gross sales fall 28% to US$140.3 million. The drop was driven by Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends, which collectively saw a 25% decline in Q1 2020 gross sales (to the tune of US$128.8 million). (In February, Mattel took back the consumer products rights for Thomas & Friends, and streaming rights for seasons 23 and 24 of Mattel Television’s Thomas & Friends were picked up by Netflix in the US.)

The action figures, building sets and games category reported gross sales of US$118.1 million, down 21% compared to the same period in 2019. The decline was driven by products related to Toy Story 4 and DC Comics.

Mattel’s dolls category fell 11% to US$225.9 million in Q1 2020, driven by declines in Barbie and American Girl. The Barbie brand, specifically, saw gross sales drop 10% to US$147.5 million. First quarter gross sales for American Girl were US$38.1 million, a 16% decline compared to last year. The toymaker’s American Girl retail stores have been temporarily closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vehicles category, meanwhile, stayed relatively steady in the first quarter at US$185.7 million (up 1%).

Mattel’s North American gross sales fell 17% to US$305.8 million, driven by declines across multiple categories, including dolls; action figures, building sets and games; and infant, toddler and preschool.

Internationally, gross sales fell 11% to US$326.1 million. Gross sales in EMEA were relatively steady in Q1 2020, while gross sales in LatAm and Asia Pacific both saw significant declines (down 21% and 30%, respectively).

Like Hasbro, Mattel has withdrawn its previous 2020 outlook due to uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, however, CEO Ynon Kreiz said the company expects a “much-improved second half and holiday season.”

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