Sales Ride 'The Dark Knight' Headwinds
July 21, 2008
There's plenty to be perky about at Mattel these days.
On the heels of a massive legal victory against Bratz,
Barbie's nemesis, the company reported strong
second-quarter sales, buoyed by toys pinned to "Batman:
The Dark Knight."
The toy marketer says worldwide net sales gained 11% in
the second quarter to $1.11 billion, while U.S. sales
gained 3%. Global sales at both Fisher-Price and
American Girl--which got a big boost from new stores and
the Kit Kittredge movie--jumped 10%; Hot Wheels achieved
a 5% increase.
Net income for the El Segundo, Calif.-based company fell
to $11.8 million, compared to last year's second-quarter
net income of $22.8 million.
"We expected the positive contribution from toys tied to
the summer entertainment properties 'Batman: The Dark
Knight,' 'Speed Racer' and 'Kung Fu Panda'," the company
says in its release. "And we also achieved nice growth
in several of our key core brands. International markets
continue to lead the way, but the U.S. business also
posted solid performance in the quarter."
And if predictions for Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight"
pan out, the latest Batman sequel toys will provide
plenty of continuing coattails for product tie-ins.
Variety, for example, reports that the film has a shot
at opening as high as Disney's 2006 "Pirates of the
Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," with $218.4 million.
Mattel's Barbie, however, is still in a major midlife
crisis, with worldwide sales on Barbie products sliding
6%. But Mattel won a major victory over MGA
Entertainment, which markets Bratz. A federal court
ruled that the majority of Bratz design drawings,
prototypes and sculpts were created by a doll designer
while he was employed by Mattel.
In the trial's next phase, Mattel says, the same jury
will be asked to rule whether Bratz dolls actually
infringe on the drawings that are now owned by Mattel.
If so, jurors will then determine the amount of damages
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