Mattel Global Profits Increase Thanks to Hotwheels, Barbie

Mattel Inc. on Monday reported a 15 percent increase in its second-quarter profit on global sales of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toy cars, although U.S. Barbie sales fell in the U.S. for the second consecutive quarter.

The toy maker posted net income of $43.1 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with $37.4 million, or 10 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue totaled $1.02 billion, up from $957.7 million a year earlier.

The company's profit matched expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, although revenue fell below the $1.03 billion analysts were looking for.

The company said global gross sales for Barbie rose 6 percent, although that figure included a 4 percent gain from currency exchange rates.

Barbie sales in the U.S. fell 5 percent in the quarter.

The El Segundo-based company said it is hopeful that a new Barbie music player that is tied to a Web site will boost sales of the company's flagship girl's toy line in the second half of the year.

"Both we and retailers feel good about the line," Mattel Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Eckert told analysts in a conference call. "I continue to feel good about where we are strategically, but we continue to have work to do in the U.S."

The company's "boy brands" fared better, with sales of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars up 15 percent worldwide.

Sales from lines connected with films or TV shows fell 2 percent in the quarter, although the company said it continued to see strong sales from toys related to the animated film "Cars," released last year by The Walt Disney Co.'s Pixar Animation Studios.

Last year's second quarter also included strong sales of products from the Warner Bros. film "Superman."

Mattel said revenue from its American Girls line fell 10 percent worldwide. The company will introduce a new historical doll in the second half of the year, its first in five years. American Girls boutiques are also scheduled to open in Atlanta and Dallas.

Shares of Mattel were up 82 cents, more than 3 percent, to $27.35 in early trading.