Mattel takes Q1 hit

Total worldwide gross sales down 15 per cent and sales in Europe down 26 per cent.
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Mattel has reported its results for the first quarter of 2009, revealing total worldwide gross sales were down by 15 per cent, US sales down six per cent and international sales down 23 per cent.

On a regional basis, sales in Europe were down 26 per cent, in Latin America they fell 21 per cent and in Asia Pacific they dropped 15 per cent (with exchange rates impacting on all).

Bob Eckert, chairman and CEO of Mattel, said that the results were as expected as the company continued to weather the economic storm. However, he picked the double digit increase in US Barbie sales and its strong share of US sales as bright spots.

Worldwide sales for Mattel Girls and Boys brands segment were down 15 per cent; worldwide Barbie sales were down five per cent and sales in international markets decreased by 15 per cent, but were essentially flat excluding the impact from foreign exchange; Barbie sales in the US grew by 18 per cent.

Worldwide sales of other girls brands were down 27 per cent.

Worldwide sales in Wheels decreased 14 per cent, primarily driven by sales declines in last year's Speed Racer property. Core Hot Wheels - which does not include Speed Racer - declined by three per cent worldwide; however sales increased by double digits in the US.

Worldwide sales of Mattel's Entertainment business, which includes games and puzzles, were down 21 per cent. The overall decline was mainly due to lower sales of the Cars property and Speed Racer. The games business performed relatively well in the US, but declined internationally.

Meanwhile, looking at Fisher-Price, and worldwide sales were down 17 per cent. On a regional basis, international sales decreased 25 per cent, while sales in the US dropped ten per cent.

All figures took a hit from the negative impact from foreign currency during the period.

Eckert said: "While we experienced growth domestically in some of our key brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price Friends, we have work to do in international markets and with other key properties. The first quarter is just that, the first of four quarters culminating in the key holiday selling season.

"Moving forward our challenge is clear, as is our goal; to deliver improved execution and great toys and we aim to do just that."

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