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A new Barbie line for 2016 will feature four body types, seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles and of course, new clothes. Courtesy of Mattel

Mattel Reports a Big Loss as Barbie Stumbles (Again)

Apr 21, 2016

Mattel reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss due to weak sales of its toys such as Barbie, Monster High and American Girl that are aimed at young girls, and the loss of a lucrative Disney license.

The company shares fell 6.2% to $31 in after-market trading on Wednesday.

Sales of the company's flagship Barbie dolls slipped again, declining 3.4% in the quarter, highlighting the company's challenges in boosting sales as young girls switch to interactive electronic toys and tablets.

The 57-year-old doll brand's sales had risen 1% in the fourth quarter, reversing two years of declines.

Mattel (mat) has been trying to reinvigorate the Barbie brand, launching new dolls with a variety of skin tones, hair styles and outfits in three new body styles.

Barbie doll sales are expected to rise in moderate single-digits this year and the fashionista line, led by "curvy" Barbie, was a bright spot, Chief Executive Christopher Sinclair told Reuters.

Sales in its other girls category fell about 62% in the first quarter ended March, hurt by weak sales of the struggling Monster High fashion dolls and loss of the Disney license.

Monster High is a work in process, Sinclair said. The company is redoing the brand by restructuring the price points and adding content, he said.

Smaller rival Hasbro (has), which in 2014 edged out Mattel for the Walt Disney license, on Monday reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, driven by strong demand for "Star Wars" action figures and the addition of the Disney Princess dolls.

Disney Princess and Frozen dolls accounted for about $455 million, or 7% of Mattel's total gross sales, in 2015.

Fisher-Price and Wheels category, which includes Hot Wheels, were the bright spots for Mattel, with sales rising.

The company's net loss widened to $73 million, or 21 cents per share, in the first three months of 2016 from $58.2 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Mattel reported a loss of 13 cents per share. Analysts on average had expected a loss of 7 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales fell 5.8% to $869.4 million, but topped the average analyst estimate of $861.1 million.

El Segundo, California-based Mattel's stock had risen about 22% this year through Wednesday's close, outperforming the S&P 500's 2.88 percent gain.

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