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Mattel Financial Numbers Q1 2009: Not So Good But Not So Bad …

As expected, sales are down …

“This quarter’s results met our expectations, with revenues negatively impacted by foreign exchange rates and retailer inventory reductions,” said Robert A. Eckert, chairman and chief executive officer of Mattel. “We’ve made good progress on several strategically important fronts, and will continue to manage costs and expenses in light of expected revenue challenges.”

Also …

“Worldwide gross sales for the Wheels category, which includes the Hot Wheels®, Matchbox® and Tyco R/C® brands, were down 14 percent, driven primarily by declines in last year’s Speed Racer® property. Worldwide gross sales for the Entertainment business, which includes Radica® and Games and Puzzles, were down 21 percent for the quarter, driven by declines in the CARS™ and Speed Racer®properties

On a technicality, CAR sales are “down,” but that’s because …

a) Can’t sell what what people can’t buy

B) Stuffing the channel the year before with products that generate initial revenue but NOT sell-through …


and c) poor case packing comes back to haunt sales? Go figure, who could’ve predicted that?


And lumping in Speed Racer sales with CARS sales?


And the other statement by CEO, Robert Eckert about lower sales due to, “ … retailer inventory reductions …”

If ONLY there was some way to connect with consumers directly and sell to them directly bypassing the retailers small stock … if ONLY … maybe someday technology will allow the far flung world to be all connected like strands of a spider’s web … where maybe typing on a keyboard or a pointer device will allow companies to sell directly to consumers … that is quite a pipe dream, isn’t it …

Rest of the Press Release and Some Numbers.

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  • acuransx says:

    Sure wish I could make it better but I can not. Not my gig, I just design the stuff, don’t Market or distribute it.

    • 5oclockshadow says:

      Any way you could convince some of the sales/marketing guys to come here for a chat, or possibly a live interactive webcast on matty or something? If they want to keep a fan base, they should at least try to keep the customers involved.

  • collectormom says:

    I’m still waiting for someone from Mattel to contact me about the Cars line. Last year at the KM Cars day the Mattel rep took my info with the idea that Mattel wanted to talk to consumers to get their take on the line. I’m still here Mattel call me!

  • Daniel says:

    Here’s some rocket science…send Canada catch-up cases of singles. People will buy them. This in turn generates profits. Profits can be used to buy peanuts. Peanuts can be fed to squirrels making them happy. Happy squirrels are more productive.

    • iamspeed says:

      Some of the money could be used to buy up all of that extra bird seed that Walmart was storing when the pallets we were waiting for never showed up! Give WM space for CARS!

    • Edge says:

      Daniel, you KNOW there is no room in our local TRU for catch-up cases of singles. The pegs are filled with 584 Bling-Bling McQueens and 293 Tex Dinocos. They have been there since June of last year! 🙁

      BTW, any word on when we’re getting the new launchers?

  • hostile takeover banker says:

    my question is where does the profit go? company execs? shareholders? hostile takeover bankers? and why should we care? regardless of whether this company is making a big profit or a really, really big profit, i personally don’t think they are going to change their distribution, packaging problems and the like.

  • 5oclockshadow says:

    1st quarter losses are common for toy companies. I would expect their numbers for second quarter to be in +/-2% range , and peak season in the 3rd quarter should post around a 10-14% gain. But who really knows these days.

    Hopefully they will learn from the Speed Racer disaster and not jump too soon on buying up toy licenses. Of course they did buy into Ghostbusters….

  • iamspeed says:

    Mattel + “actual” customer demand(CARS) = DOES NOT COMPUTE! DOES NOT COMPUTE! DOES NOT COMPUTE!

    I’m really getting close to pulling the plug on the whole CARS thing……..we’re right back to wasting time and gas(thankfully, a lot cheaper) trying to find new cases that are getting slower and slower to find their way to retailers.

    3 weeks in a row at our TRU with only ONE case in those three weeks, and it wasn’t even a new case!

  • acuransx says:

    sure wish it was different……….damn.

    • John in Missouri says:

      Is there anything you can do to help?

    • Steve AKA: Poppa says:

      Well Acuransx, I think Mattel needs to have their toy representatives hit the bricks with clipboard and pencil. My observation with Mattel products is similar to the corporate report. Store inventories are down. When the pegs at WM and TGT for Hot Wheels are empty, what does Mattel expect. Toys costing $1 sell better in the worst of economic times. I can understand the first quarter being down because of the post Christmas cycle always dictates reduction due to consumers paying off credit card debt from Christmas, inventory, etc. Mattel cannot force retailers to buy. I read in the financial pages those companies that have reduced backroom inventory are doing well. The reports gauge the number of days the inventory sits. The less number of days the more profitable. I saw the result of this concept this recent Easter. None of the stores in the “hood” in the Pierce County/Tacoma area had candy to sell at half price the day after. Even the Saturday immediately before, many stores ran out of inventory to sell. That clearly indicates a reduction in inventory dollars being wasted selling at cost of production.

      However, sales are also down because of Mattel’s poor gambling in the toy aisles. Speed Racer down! Wow, I know Mattel must take a gamble on which movies needs the promotional dollars, but, to wrap up $$$ in a potential one shot bomb, buyers could have guessed that one.

      Cars is a proven line. It is a great Disney property. Yesterday I was out and about. Now I’m totally complete through Case F and do not expect Case H to show up soon. I did check the pegs for some friends. Two WM had empty pegs-the usual suspects in Spanaway and Lakewood. The two Puyallup store had respectable showing-including one Chase Chuki. Fred Meyer had zippo. Target had some Case F’s hanging. But, where are the haulers- zippo in the major stores. So the retailers failure to order sufficient inventory is really based on the concept of holding the bag on non sellers, like Speed Racer, excessive Hulk movie figures, Spiderman, etc. Retailer do NOT make money selling at 50% off MSRP.

      Mattel needs to hit the bricks and look at the pegs. A dirth of red McQueens sitting on pegs discourages sales. Those computers read “pegs are full, no need to order.” HAL needs to be replaced by “boots on the ground.” Mattel needs to changed the case assortment. Try finding a Milton! Didn’t find one! Keeping a toy line “fresh” does not mean buying more moldy cheese! The new castings need their own case distribution. If Mattel is going to introduce three new castings, why not three of each in an 18 count box? The “usual suspects,” like McQueen and the original cast of charters need their own case. Of course this is dependent on the retailer really giving a rip and having knowledgeable staff in the aisle, rather than an “associate” having zero toy knowledge.

      Toys costing $2.97-$3.59 will sell. Toys costing $1.00 (Hot Wheels) consistently sell. Give a little tyke a Hot Wheels in the shopping cart, and, he is satisfied. Moms and dads recognize the value in the Cars line, but, we cannot find new product.

      I’m sure Mattel is taking a bath on the Cars line, but, it is not in the 1:55 line. It is in the larger more costlier toys, which are sitting idle and discounted. In this economy Mattel needs the KISS approach- “keep it simple stupid.” Give us the reasonably priced toys and a reasonable production schedule.

      Sorry for the long post. Hopefully the Mattel trolls are reading this! 🙂

      • John in Missouri says:

        A good place to start would be getting rid of non-canon Mini’s.

        • TJH-AZ says:

          Why? the mini line sells and would sell a lot more if they lowered the price a buck. Being canon to the film only bothers collectors. Kids out there and probably most of the parents don’t care. It’s a little car, representative of the line (although not canon) and customers out there buy it. Get over it. The single problem with the entire mini line is the price. The motorized trailers and the regular blister packs are priced too high. It’s obvious Mattel allows artistic freedom with the mini line so good for them. Priced right, it’s a nice fill for the Cars line. Price wrong as it is now, and it’s just another product warming the pegs. And that doesn’t do Mattel, the retailer or the consumer any good.


    I cant believe you guys got a picture of me peaking over the ladies stall in Japan!! Met, you have cameras everywhere!!

  • lost says:

    this is funny. of course sales are down when you lump them in with speed racer. they can’t even sell those at .99 cents a car. And retailer orders are down cause they order 200 of a case then they warm the shelves with 50,000 McQueens and Ramones. and don’t order more till those are gone. DUH! How do we know this and Mattel and retailers can’t figure this out?

  • PirateDad says:

    hmmmm….. retail sales through matty….sell half as much make same money…wholesale thru chains, sell twice as much for half the money…..what was it Nicole H said?? oh yeah…D’UH!!!

    I know that I like retail money WAY better than Wholesale, but need the wholesale to make the line work…. Maybe Mattel should fire the squirrels and hire some monkeys instead!!!

  • cac1959 says:

    We know what we’d buy, if it were available… Mattel, please listen to your customers.

  • lou says:

    i have 3 words: idiots, idiots, idiots.

  • Nicole H says:

    One word is all I got for this post, DUH! Not you Met but Mattel.

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