Mattel Earnings Up, But It's Tough For U.S. Dolls

Times are tough for American dolls. While Mattel Inc. says global sales are up 7% in the second quarter, domestic gross sales have fallen off 3%. Hardest hit are American Girls, the company's high-end historical line, with dolls retailing in the $90 range. Sales fell 10% in the quarter, to $55.8 million. Sales of Barbie products in the U.S. also declined, although international gains lifted the brand's total sales 6% higher than the same quarter a year ago.

Bratz, the flirty teen doll line sold by rival MGA Entertainment, has been pressuring Barbie's sales around the world.

For the quarter, Mattel's net sales were $1.02 billion, up 7% compared to $957.7 million last year. Operating income for the El Segundo, Calif.-based company rose to $63.5 million, compared to prior year's operating income for the quarter of $49.9 million.

Worldwide, Mattel says its core brands continued to show healthy improvement. In addition to Barbie's global gains, Hot Wheels sales jumped 20% in the quarter, while sales at its Fisher-Price unit gained 22%.

"While the first half is not particularly significant to the highly seasonal toy industry, our positive results continue to reflect the benefits of our diversified portfolio of global brands," the company said in making its announcement.



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