American Girl, Monster High drive Mattel Q1 results

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Key Mattel brands drove Mattel sales for the first quarter of 2013. 

Mattel's net sales for the quarter were $996 million, up 7% compared to $928 million last year, and net income increased dramatically to $38.5 million, or $0.11 per share, compared to last year's first quarter net income of $7.8 million, or $0.02 per share.

"Overall, 2013 is off to a solid start, demonstrating the strength of our global portfolio of brands, countries and customers. We are very pleased with the performance of our Girls portfolio and the strong results across all regions, particularly Europe," said Bryan G. Stockton, Mattel chairman and CEO. "We continue to see the first quarter as our pre-season and we remain focused on a strong 2013 and delivering in the all-important holiday season."

On a regional basis, first quarter gross sales increased 5% in the North American region, which consists of the U.S., Canada and American Girl, with no impact from changes in currency exchange rates. For the International region, gross sales increased 9%, including a 2 percentage point unfavorable impact from changes in currency exchange rates. Operating income for the quarter was $65.8 million, compared to prior year's operating income for the quarter of $28.7 million.

Dips in sales for Fisher-Price Brands, which includes the Fisher-Price Core, Fisher-Price Friends and Power Wheels, down 7% versus the prior year, and the Barbie brand, down 2% versus the prior year, were not enough to offset profits for Mattel. Worldwide gross sales for Mattel Girls & Boys Brands for the first quarter went up 11% to $692.2 million, compared to the prior year, while worldwide gross sales for Other Girls Brands were up 56%, driven by Monster High. Meanwhile, first quarter gross sales for American Girl Brands, which offers American Girl branded products directly to consumers, were $100.5 million, up 32% versus the prior year. This was driven primarily by increases in all core doll segments, led by Saige, 2013 Girl of the Year and strong performance at retail, including the three new stores opened in 2012.

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