Mattel beat Wall Street’s estimates for its Q4 performance, posting a net sales increase of 10% to US$1.79 billion. For the year, net sales were up by 19% to US$5.45 billion. And at this rate of growth, there could be mergers and acquisitions on the horizon, said CEO Ynon Kreiz in the toyco’s latest earnings conference call.
The dolls category was a key driver last year, with worldwide gross billings up by 22% to US$2.29 billion. Instrumental in this growth story was top doll brand Barbie, which saw its worldwide gross billings increase by 24% to US$1.67 billion.
(Gross billings represents the total amount invoiced to customers, while net sales—which Mattel historically used to report—represent total sales after subtracting returned/damaged goods and discounts.)
Mattel’s three other main product sectors all generated significant annual growth, too. The action figures, building sets, games and other category saw the biggest spike, jumping by 32% to US$1.30 billion. The vehicles category grew by 13% to US$1.25 billion, driven by powerhouse brand Hot Wheels (up 12% to US$1.06 billion). And the infant, toddler and preschool category posted a 6% increase to US$1.22 billion, based on the strength of Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends (up 6% to US$1.12 billion combined).
Kriez said these strong results—coupled with a long-term debt reduction from US$2.85 billion in 2020 to US$2.57 billion in 2021—could fuel an M&A drive. And he suggested that creative content companies could be high on the list of prospects.
Kreiz also added that recent reassignment of toy licensing rights for Disney Princesses and Frozen from Hasbro to Mattel will drive further growth for the toyco well into 2023.