Mattel's profit falls, Barbie sales slide again

Barbie and Ken dolls are on display at the exhibition "50 years of Barbie" in the eastern German town of Schmalkalden. The exhibition runs to March 2010. AFP PHOTO DDP / JENS-ULRICH KOCH GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images) JENS-ULRICH KOCH

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Mattel's (MAT) second-quarter net income fell 24 percent, pulled down by an impairment charge and some investments made to help its future growth.

The toymaker's revenue edged up but came in below Wall Street expectations.

In the April-to-June quarter, net income for the biggest toy maker in the U.S. dropped to $73.3 million, or 21 cents per share. That compares with $96.2 million, or 28 cents per share, a year ago.

Mattel didn't specify how large the impairment charge was or give a figure that excludes unusual items. Analysts expected earnings of 32 cents per share but typically exclude unusual items from the estimates. An impairment charge often reflects the reduced value of an asset.

Revenue for the El Segundo, Calif., company edged up to $1.17 billion from $1.16 billion as international sales grew. Still, this missed Wall Street's estimate of $1.22 billion.

Sales of Mattel's Barbie franchise declined for the fourth straight quarter, falling 12 percent. Sales of the company's other girls brands climbed 23 percent, mostly due to the continued popularity of Monster High products. American Girl sales increased 14 percent. Sales of Fisher-Price branded products dropped 3 percent, while Hot Wheels sales dipped 1 percent.

Mattel Inc. said Wednesday that its board declared a third-quarter dividend of 36 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Sept. 20 to shareholders of record on Aug. 28.

A more complete picture of how the toy industry is doing will come when Mattel's smaller rival, Hasbro Inc., reports on July 22.

Toys are a discretionary purchase, so how well they are selling is an indication of how confident consumers feel about the state of the economy and their finances.