EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Mattel's (MAT) third-quarter net income rose 16 percent, buoyed for demand for dolls like Monster High, Barbie and American Girl as well as strength domestically and abroad.
Its performance beat Wall Street expectations. The stock rose nearly 6 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday.
The quarterly results come as toy makers gear up for the holiday season, which can account for up to half of their annual revenue. Toy sales overall have been weak in North America, Europe and Australia, due to a weak video game market, an uncertain economy and continued popularity of electronic gadgets like smartphones and tablets. But Mattel, the largest U.S. toy maker with many popular brands, has fared better than its competitors.
"Mattel delivered growth in every region of the world, expanded our operating margins, further strengthened our balance sheet and returned more capital to our shareholders," said CEO Bryan G. Stockton in a statement.
Barbie, the No. 1 doll brand, reversed four straight quarters of sales decline to increase 3 percent during the quarter. Dolls in general continued to be a strong category, with sales of Monster High and American Girl also rising.
Fisher-Price brands remained a weak spot with flat sales. Hot Wheels also remained challenged with sales down 2 percent.
For the three months ended Sept. 30, the largest U.S. toy company earned $422.8 million, or $1.21 per share. That's up from $365.9 million, or $1.04 per share, in the prior-year period.
Removing a tax benefit of 5 cents per share, earnings were $1.16 per share. Analysts predicted earnings of $1.11 per share.
Revenue for the El Segundo, Calif., company rose 6 percent to $2.21 billion from $2.08 billion. Wall Street expected $2.175 billion in revenue.
In North America, gross sales climbed 3 percent. International gross sales increased 9 percent.
Mattel Inc. also declared a fourth-quarter dividend of 36 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Dec. 13 to shareholders of record on Nov. 27.
Mattel shares rose $2.41, or 5.8 percent, to $43.96 in premarket trading 90 minutes ahead of the market opening.
Mattel's smaller rival Hasbro reports its quarterly financial results on Monday.