Fight in the toy aisle

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - BUSINESS -

Toy­mak­ers Mat­tel and Has­bro are gear­ing up for their an­nual hol­i­day show­down. But Mat­tel, which has been off its game, is us­ing the sea­son as a setup for next year’s ex­pected come­back.

Mat­tel posted flat third-quar­ter rev­enue, as the na­tion’s largest toy com­pany’s Bar­bie busi­ness re­bounded and strong sales of its Amer­i­can Girl items off­set the lost Walt Dis­ney Princess and “Frozen” busi­ness that went to No. 2 Has­bro this year. Has­bro, helped by its new Dis­ney pact, posted a 14 per­cent in­crease in quar­terly rev­enue. Its Nerf brand and toys re­lated to “Star Wars” should also keep sales strong. Mat­tel’s an­nual rev­enue should still be slightly down from last year’s $5.7 bil­lion. But for 2017, it should see growth, say Fac­tSet’s an­a­lysts. That growth should be driven by new tie-ins with re­tail­ers and its con­tin­ued rein­ven­tion of Bar­bie. Has­bro, whose sales were $4.5 bil­lion last year, is ex­pected to en­joy solid growth this year and next year, but re­main in sec­ond place. Shares of Mat­tel have risen 16 per­cent this year, hov­er­ing around $31; Has­bro’s shares are up 23 per­cent, trad­ing around $83. “I’m pleased with what I am see­ing with Mat­tel,” says Moody’s Linda Mon­tag.

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