Hot Wheels, Barbie lift Mattel earnings

Toy maker Mattel on Tuesday, July 17, reported stronger profits on rising sales of its Barbie doll, pictured here, and other popular brands.
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(AP) EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Mattel Inc.'s second-quarter net income climbed 20 percent as sales of Hot Wheels, Barbie and Monster High products increased and the company's sales costs and advertising and promotional spending declined.

The results for a seasonally slow period for toy companies beat Wall Street estimates.

The biggest U.S. toy maker reported Tuesday that its net income rose to $96.2 million, or 28 cents per share, in the April to June quarter. That compares with $80.5 million, or 23 cents per share, a year ago.

The performance beat the 20 cents per share that analysts surveyed by FactSet expected.

"We delivered solid performance as we continued to build momentum with key brands, such as Barbie, Monster High, American Girl and Hot Wheels, as well as the Batman -- The Dark Night Rises property, despite a continued cautious global retail environment and a strengthening U.S. dollar," CEO Bryan Stockton said in a statement.

Revenue held at $1.16 billion, but topped Wall Street's estimate of $1.13 billion.

Mattel looked to combat this slowness by reducing some of its costs. The company's cost of sales declined to $564.2 million from $605.5 million, while advertising and promotion expenses were cut to $112.4 million from $116.2 million.

Sales of Hot Wheels climbed 11 percent, while Barbie sales rose 5 percent. Fisher Price sales increased 2 percent thanks to Fisher-Price Friends, Disney's Jake and the Never Land Pirates and the acquisition of HIT Entertainment. American Girl sales gained 3 percent mostly because of strong sales of the 2012 Girl of the Year, McKenna.

Worldwide sales of Mattel's other girls brands, which includes Monster High, soared 96 percent.

The entertainment segment, which includes Radica and games, posted a 36 percent sales decline as shoppers purchased fewer "Cars 2'' products. The movie "Cars 2" was in theaters last summer. Toys tied to movies typically sell the most amount of products closer to the period that the movies are in theaters, with sales falling afterward.

Mattel, which is based in El Segundo, Calif., also declared a third-quarter dividend of 31 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Sept. 21 to shareholders of record on Aug. 29.