Toyland is a treacherous place these days, and Mattel is the latest victim. Quarterly sales for the company plummeted 22%, and earnings missed forecasts.
That news comes weeks after widespread layoffs at rival Hasbro.
And the NPD Group just released its final tally of global toy sales for last year, revealing flat results worldwide. But the market researcher says that putting the results in a three-year perspective shows a much less troubling outlook, with sales up 22% compared to 2019.
"We are pleased to see that global sales held their own in 2022, consistently strong and in line with the elevated level of sales reported in 2021," says Frédérique Tutt, NPD's global toys industry analyst.
Mattel's sales sank to $1.4 billion, down 22% from the $1.79 billion reported in the fourth quarter of 2021. (When adjusted for currency fluctuations, the decline is 19%) Net income plummeted 93% to $16.1 million, versus $225.8 million in the prior year's comparable period.
The El Segundo, California-based company described its results as "disappointing" but points to strength in its individual brands, gaining market share and, in some categories, outpacing the industry.
"The increase in consumer demand for our product speaks to the strength of our portfolio as a whole, even in a challenging environment," says Ynon Kreiz, chairman and chief executive, in its announcement.
Sales in North America dropped even more: 26%, with sales declining in Fisher-Price, Thomas & Friends, Barbie, and action figures. Vehicles, including Hot Wheels, gained.
Mattel says Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Fisher-Price were the #1 global property in their respective categories. And Barbie was the #2 overall property. (Pokémon is in first place.)
During the quarter, it cut its ad costs by $23 million to increase efficiencies, spending a total of $243 million.
The NPD report, which tracks sales in 12 global markets, finds that five of the 11 super categories it follows showed sales gains for the year, led by plush toys, which jumped 64%.