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Mattel gives Ken doll a makeover

More than a half-century after the Barbie doll's slim-and-trim debut, toymaker Mattel says it's now about to offer the doll in three additional new body types
Barbie gets a makeover 01:12

Mattel is rolling out a new line of Ken dolls aimed at a more diverse audience.  

The company added 15 Ken dolls to the current lineup, featuring a range of seven skin tones and three body types including "slim," "broad" and "original." Photos of the new line show Ken dolls in clothes including skinny ties and plaid shirts and sporting a range of hairstyles including cornrows and a man bun.

"By continuing to expand our product line, we are redefining what a Barbie or Ken doll looks like to this generation," Lisa McKnight, Barbie senior vice president and general manager said in a statement. "Evolving Ken was a natural evolution for the brand and allows girls to further personalize the role they want him to play in Barbie's world."

The new lineup of Barbie and Ken dolls. Mattel

Mattel also announced today it would add 25 more dolls to the Barbie lineup, as the company continues its push to turn around the struggling brand.

The company had a rocky start to 2017, with a 15 percent drop in sales in the first quarter; sales of Barbie were down 13 percent. Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis recently laid out a new plan to improve the company's product development and focus on emerging markets growth.

In a note, Morningstar analyst Jaime Katz called the plan "an improvement" that "offers a more defined focus on expectations and priorities for the narrow-moat company."  

But Katz cautioned that currency swings in international markets and slow growth in North America (60 percent of the company's revenue base) were reasons for a "more tempered outlook" on Mattel's topline growth.

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