It has been many years for toys. Children's ever-growing appetite for technological devices – including video game consoles, laptops and smartphones – has surpassed their desire for traditional toys, and some say makers have been slow to adapt to a changing store landscape. Last year it was especially bad in the US after Toys R Us, a key dealer, was filed bankrupt in September 2017 and closed or sold all of its stores.
But things seem to look up. Mattel, one of the world's three largest toy companies, posted fourth-quarter earnings Thursday, February 7, shows a surprise result, thanks to the success of one of the best-known brands: Barbie.
Apart from Barbie's success, Hot Wheels reported worldwide gross sales of $ 834 million for the year, up 7% from 2017. But the gains was mainly offset by losses that Mattel has had in other brands, including American Girl and Thomas & Friends.
Mattel's net revenue for the quarter fell from $ 1.6 billion in 2017 to $ 1.5 billion in 2018, but it was above most analysts' estimates.  Mattel seems to be knocking on Barbie's success: In a conversation with investors, CEO Ynon Kreiz said: "We are looking forward to celebrating [Barbie’s] 60th anniversary in 2019 with a host of exciting product launches and events." And in December 2018, the company announced it would produce a Barbie movie (paywall) with Oscar-nominated actor Margot Robbie.