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Mattel Has Another Poor Quarter

No real shock, Mattel has another poor quarter …

World-wide sales for Mattel Girls and Boys Brands were down 5% for the quarter.

As you can see our world-wide growth sales were down 4% for the quarter, were sales down 2% in North American region, which includes our North American division and American grow operations and down 7% in international. As I previously said at Toy Fair, New York, we’re seeing a moderate impact in shipping in the first quarter due to retail inventory headwinds and continued softness in POS.

Barbie shipping was down 14% in the quarter. In the U.S. consumer takeaway continues to be down and in International where Barbie POS was positive, shipping was impacted by retail inventory headwinds.

Our focus here remains to improve POS for the year and we shifted some advertising to later in the year where we feel it will be more impactful. While we see improvement, we clearly have more work to do here. Monster High is now a well-established property in the industry and remains a key component of a much larger Mattel Girls portfolio. In the quarter, Monster High toy shipping was down in domestic and international markets as they faced a challenging quarter one comp.

So, other than Hot Wheels, Barbie, Monster High, Fisher Price, CARS, we’re doing just fine …

And while we saw a growth in our Hot Wheels business as well as the Disney Planes, it was offset by declines of certain other entertainment properties.

target empty

Humm, I wonder why.

You can read the full analyst meeting transcript here at Seeking Alpha.

Official Press release presentation here. (PDF)


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18 April 2014 Mattel 12 Comments


  • greatwhitenorth says:

    ALL the stores here in Michigan are ALWAYS the same –
    either EMPTY pegs or overflow with the same peg warmer commons no one wants!?!

    Part of the problem is when store do re-order, they get OLD cases and NOT the “newest” releases collectors want or need.

    The second part of the problem is that Mattel (and Hasbro) make cases with ONLY one or two “new” (or desirable) characters in them and then the rest of the case is common peg warmers that NO ONE wants, so stores are stuck with product they cannot sell (even at a discount).

    I have been saying this for YEARS to all the toy companies – STOP short packing cases with ONLY one or two “new” characters or “chase” pieces.

    I also do NOT care for store exclusives either!

    As collectors, we cannot buy what we CANNOT FIND at retail.

    This is EXACTLY why my son and I lost interest in collecting “CARS” – there were SO MANY series and characters we were NOT able to find at any retail store here!!!

  • Tom says:

    Always give me the d-chills to read this type of business school hyperbole/cliche/jargon.

    “inventory headwinds
    growth sales were down (how does growth go down?!?)
    consumer takeaway
    continued softness
    shipping was impacted by retail inventory headwinds”

    Can we get an English teacher to volunteer to give this person a stout beating with a sack full of Chicago Manual of Style books?

    I am surprised that Barbie sales have been sliding for several quarters. There must be some greater sociological meaning there.
    Mattel made a bad mistake thinking they were going to ride that Monster High…. er, high for very long. That fad came & went it appears.

  • Audifan says:

    The reason why we see the lack of inventory and empty pegs of the Pixar Cars is do to the contents of each case. As we all know, only half of the case will actually SELL and the others clog up the pegs. Mattel is to blame, we don’t want WGP Lightning or Francesco; we want new Cars, such as Lubewig. Stores are playing cheap with Mattel. They hate getting a lot of useless ones and we collectors aren’t feeling happy.

  • MoMcQueen says:

    POS = Point of Sale?

    I automatically substitute the acronym POS for a less-classy alternative.

  • Steve AKA: Poppa says:

    The picture of the empty pegs is exactly what I encounter at all of my big box retailers. You cannot really blame Mattel for the lack of inventory in the stores. If stores do not order inventory then Mattel’s factories will not produce product. I’ve encountered time after time managers who tell me they have no ability to order inventory. If there is a sudden surge in demand, how do you stock the shelves when no orders have been placed? At my local Targets and Wal-Marts it has been a hopeless situation for Cars and Planes. Empty pegs galore! What was also very perplexing at Wal-Mart was the lack of basic Hot Wheels. No $1.00 Hot Wheels-unheard of!

    I believe the lack of inventory rests with the retailer looking to pad their bottom line by not having excessive unsold inventory. When same stores annual sales are calculated and performance rated it’s based on the sales of ALL merchandise. Wal-Mart sells everything, not just toys.

    What has really perplexed my brain is the lack of inventory and high prices at Toys r Us. Cars for $5.99? Or, $4.99 when Wal-Mart sells for $3.47? Then again, the store can price their inventory at whatever price it wants, but, you still cannot sell what you don’t have.

    Consumers are also to blame. Members on this site may be rabid collectors. However, the attention span of many kids is short. It may be Cars or Planes today, but, when a new movie or television show comes out, they’ll change directions. Many retailers do not want to be stuck with unsold inventory. My local Goodwill’s are loaded with final markdowns from the local Targets.

  • Jack says:

    Here is an idea Mattel. Stop overproducing what people don’t buy much of, fix case assortments and put out more of what people want. Mattel and Disney must have missed out on hundreds of millions in sales in the last few months on Frozen merchandise alone as they are forced to admit they underestimated the demand, even though they made the darn movie. These companies just aren’t ran right. I could do better than their whole team.
    Want some more Cars sales? Stop making millions of deluxe Maters. Put out some Franks. Stop repacking cases with multiple pegwarners and put in more than 1 Lizzie per case etc. etc.

  • BMW says:

    Another problem that Mattel refuses to address is that the Chinese back door market is wide open with Cars and Planes selling cheaply on ebay with subsidized free shipping. Why bother buying at a retail store when you can buy on ebay with free world wide shipping?

    • Mack_me_Bucko says:

      Seriously? How many parents are buying Chinese back door for their kids? Pretty much zero. Chinese back door is aimed directly at collectors, which is about .001% of Mattel’s total market. Mattel sold $4.35 Billion last year, and almost none of that is to collectors, since they are first and foremost a toy company. The economy is still down, so then toy sales lag. It also doesn’t help that Mattel has pinned their hopes on Monster High, etc, that were just passing fads.

    • John says:

      Thank goodness for Chinese sellers and eBay. If we had to rely on local stores or the kindness of Take 5ers for Cars we’d give up on this hobby completely. We have five Target stores within a few miles of home and 40 Target stores within easy driving range; the pegs are filled with stock too. But its the same unwanted selection of commonly available Cars at every store. Target’s computer only restocks when inventory falls to a preset level and then they receive three month old cases from regional inventory. Its not the retailers fault that the warehouses are clogged with undesirable merchandise, the problem lies squarely with Mattel.

    • toyfountain says:

      Unfortunately, there is no other option for many. If I haven’t entered and exited a store/toy department empty handed with my wallet full of money at least 200 times last year, I haven’t done it once. The Chinese sellers are simply filling in a large void created and left open by Mattel. Just a few hours ago I was at WalMart and didn’t buy any Cars once again. I would have loved to buy the new case Cars at retail.

  • BMW says:

    What Mattel speak is “retail inventory headwinds”?
    Walmart continues to have empty singles pegs here. No restock.

    Mattel way over produces Monster High. These are still not selling at Aldis at 16.99 and certainly not at Walmart at 19.99.

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