Toy maker Mattel Inc. has announced its fourth-quarter results, which fell short of expectations. The company also revealed plans to implement cost-cutting measures while continuing to repurchase stock.
The decision to cut costs follows competitor Hasbro Inc.’s recent layoffs, as the demand for toys has slowed down. In response to investors’ desire for higher profit margins, several other companies have also announced expense reductions in recent weeks.
Despite missing expectations, shares of Mattel were up 1.5% after hours. Chief Financial Officer Anthony DiSilvestro expressed optimism about the future, stating, “Looking ahead, we are launching a new cost savings program focused on profitable growth and expect to improve profitability and continue share repurchases in 2024.”
In the fourth quarter, Mattel reported a net income of $147.3 million, or 42 cents per share, compared to $16.1 million, or 4 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2022. Adjusted for various factors such as severance, product recalls, and changes to deferred tax assets, Mattel earned 29 cents per share. Additionally, sales rose by 16% to reach $1.62 billion.
Analysts anticipated adjusted earnings per share of 31 cents on a revenue of $1.65 billion; however, Mattel fell slightly short of these projections.
Future Growth Initiatives
CEO Ynon Kreiz highlighted the company’s accomplishments in expanding into various forms of entertainment, such as film, television, digital media, and publishing. He stated, “We ended 2023 with the strongest balance sheet we have had in years, putting us in an excellent position to execute our strategy to grow Mattel’s IP-driven toy business and expand our entertainment offering.”
Mattel’s Post-Holiday Report and the Future of Toy Demand
Mattel, a renowned toy company, recently released its post-holiday shopping season report. The company’s executives have expressed their interest in transforming their popular toy, “Barbie,” into a film franchise. Additionally, they plan on creating movies based on other successful toys. Amidst this excitement, analysts are attempting to evaluate the impact of the “Barbie” movie’s success on sales.
Cooling Toy Demand
In recent times, there has been a notable decline in toy demand. This can be attributed to higher prices of essential goods over the past two years. Retailers, having learned their lesson from being left with an excess of unwanted toys and electronics two years ago, have opted for a more cautious approach when restocking their shelves.
Investor Interest and Concerns
According to The Wall Street Journal, activist investor Barington Capital has acquired a stake in Mattel. Barington Capital believes that the company should explore “strategic alternatives” concerning its Fisher-Price and American Girl businesses.
Potential Shipping Disruptions
Bank of America analysts have expressed concern over potential shipping disruptions in the Red Sea, which could directly impact companies like Mattel and Hasbro. Houthi fighters opposing Israel’s war in Gaza have been attacking ships in the region, leading to longer travel routes and increased shipping costs. Notably, around 24% of Mattel’s total sales in 2022 came from the Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions.
The Future of the Toy Industry
During a conference, Mattel’s CEO, Kreiz, expressed belief in the long-term growth of the toy industry. However, he stated that compared to the significant growth experienced between 2019 and the pandemic, 2023 is likely to be less impressive.
“We anticipate that 2023 will bring a return to normalcy in terms of shopping patterns, consumer behavior, and inventory levels both at the retail and company levels,” Kreiz commented.
In conclusion, Mattel’s post-holiday report reflects a cooling toy demand amidst rising prices for essential goods. Investor interest and concerns, as well as potential shipping disruptions, have further contributed to the company’s challenges. Despite this, Mattel remains hopeful regarding the long-term growth of the toy industry, expecting a return to normalcy in 2023.