Record quarter for Mattel as CEO Ynon Kreiz cites “exceptional results reflective of firm’s turnaround”

Mattel has seen first quarter net sales up by 47 per cent year on year in what the toy maker’s chairman and CEO, Ynon Kreiz has called ‘another record quarter for the company’ with “exceptional results” reflective of the firm’s turnaround.

This marks Mattel’s third consecutive quarter of growing market share with results that have caused for renewed optimism in the success of the company to both ‘improve profitability and accelerate topline growth in 2021 and beyond.’

Kreiz has noted that while growth this quarter was “partially driven by year over year Covid-related comparisons” and lower sales in the same quarter the year prior owing to the onset of the pandemic, the toy maker believes its results overall are “attributable to the strength of brands, quality and breadth of product, and world class supply chain, as well as effective demand creation in partnership with its retail partners.”

Mattel saw net sales in North America increase 67 per cent as reported versus the prior year’s first quarter. This was driven by growth across its Dolls – including Barbie and Spirit – sector, as well as its Infant, Toddler, and Pre-school (including Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends), Vehicles (including Hot Wheels), and Action Figures, Building Sets, Games, and Other (including Masters of the Universe, Jurassic World, Plush, WWE, and Mega).

Net sales in the international segment increased 30 per cent as reported driven by similar growth across the categories.

Decreases in net sales occurred across Mattel’s American Girl segment by 22 per cent.

Mattel has stated that its top priority continues to be the health and safety of its people, and at the same time, mitigating the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic to the business.

Anthony DiSilvestro, CFO of Mattel, said: “Mattel delivered another outstanding quarter, and we are very pleased with our start to the year. Free Cash Flow improved significantly along with our Free Cash Flow Conversion rate, leverage ratio continues to come down, and the debt refinancing provides additional flexibility as we continued to make further progress towards our strategy to improve profitability and accelerate topline growth.

“We believe we are well-positioned to gain momentum for the full year. We are revising 2021 guidance to reflect our stronger-than-anticipated first quarter performance and updated outlook for cost inflation.”

Fisher-Price partners with PGS Entertainment to launch Gus – The Itsy Bitsy Knight toy line

Mattel has entered into a multi-year global licensing agreement with PGS Entertainment to launch a full line of Fisher-Price toys based on the upcoming animated pre-school series, Gus – The Itsy Bitsy Knight.

Under the agreement, Mattel and its Fisher-Price brand will develop new figures, play-sets, plush, vehicles and more. The officially licensed toy range is tipped to launch in 2022.

Gus – The Itsy Bitsy Knight is a comedy adventure series based on a story created by Dankerleroux and Françoise de Guibert for Editions Gulf Stream. Presented in CGI animation, the show, which will initially consist of 52 11-minute episodes, will follow a small grasshopper-sized boy named Gus who wishes to become the greatest knight in all the kingdom of Karamel, a medieval setting with a modern twist.

“We are always looking for new properties that offer strong, toyetic qualities. From the moment we first saw the world of Gus – The Itsy Bitsy Knight, we were drawn to its compelling story,” said Nick Karamanos, SVP of Entertainment Partnerships, Mattel.

“We look forward to partnering with the PGS team to develop a range of preschool toys that will bring this new property to life and engage kids through play.”

Philippe Soutter, Co-Founder, PGS Entertainment, added: “We’re extremely pleased with the developments on Gus – The Itsy Bitsy Knight, and with having Mattel on board.

“With leading broadcasters already set up across the world, we’re certain that Gus will bring massive success to both broadcasters and licensees. Having a partner like Mattel to expand the Gus universe is a big milestone for the brand’s growth.”

Mattel has the power in new Masters of the Universe toy line reveal featuring UNO, Fisher-Price and Mega Construx

Mattel has unveiled a new generation-spanning collection of toys, action figures, tabletop games and even a themed version of its popular card game UNO all based on the Masters of the Universe franchise, proving that the global toymaker really does ‘have the power.’

Revealed at this year’s virtual edition of Power Con, Mattel finally shed light on the much anticipated Masters of the Universe toy line for 2021, a launch that will coincide with the arrival of a new Masters of the Universe series on Netflix. And it’s a range designed to truly bring generations together.

For the first time, Masters of the Universe is launching in to the pre-school space with a line of Fisher-Price toys under the Little People moniker. The line-up of four figures features He-Man, Skeletor, Man-at-Arms, and Beast Man.

Mattel then begins to transition up the age groups with the introduction of a new action figure line from its Imaginext collection. The Fisher-Price Imaginext Masters of the Universe XL Action Figures line features a collection of super-sized 10-inch action figures including He-Man, Skeletor, and Beast Man.

Mega Construx comes roaring into play as the brand expands its Masters of the Universe offering with a reissue of last year’s Pro Builders Series Castle Grayskull. The 3,508-piece building set includes three floors featuring the Throne Room, Command Centre, Dungeon, Power Sword-activated Jawbridge, and more. It also includes six collectable micro action figures.

Meanwhile, the Mega Construx Masters of the Universe Skeletor Skull Assortment comes with three collectable Skeletor heads, each containing micro action figures and building materials.

Skeletor and Panthor signature sets complete the line up, alongside a Battle Ram vehicle with Tri-Klops and Mekaneck micro action figures.

Mattel has also got the gaming sector covered with a Masters of the Universe themed version of its hit game UNO. The new launch features vintage artwork from the franchise’s archives of oil paintings created by Williams George and Ruby Obero in the 1980s, tapping into the retro-revival with vintage appeal.

Finally, Mattel has also detailed the first tabletop roleplaying game to feature Masters of the Universe, introducing players to Legends of Grayskull. The launch is the result of a multi-year licensing deal with Fandom – the team that developed D&D Beyond – to produce a roleplaying game complete with a 250 page hardcover guidebook with pull-out maps, a digital companion app and toolset, a community content creation and sharing platform, and a ‘play programme that gives fans the chance to participate in a connected, living story with other players around the world.’


Mattel takes up arms against COVID-19 as it focuses production on face masks and PPE

Mattel has become the latest toy company to join in the fight agains the deepening COVID-19 pandemic, dedicating a slice if its production line to face masks in order to meet the urgent demand for medical supplies in the US.

In a post across social media, Mattel’s president and COO, Richard Dickson announced the company’s intentions, stating that its design and development teams in El Segundo, California, and East Aurora, New York will be producing face masks from Barbie and Fisher-Price fabric ‘to help meet the significant demand.’

Mattel is also prototyping personal protective equipment, such as face shields, for medical workers – many of which have been faced with the ongoing efforts of caring for those with COVID-19 without the appropriate safety or protective wear.

Mattel now joins a slew of toy companies who have taken up arms in the global fight against the coronavirus in the past week, including the likes of Zimpli Kids and Crazy Aaron who have dedicated portions of their manufacturing processes to the production of hand sanitiser.

Meanwhile, MGA Entertainment’s CEO Isaac Larian launched Operation: Pac-Man to bring supporters together to equip hospitals and healthcare workers with the supplies they need to protect themselves as the global fight against Covid-19 continues.

Speaking of the firm’s own efforts, Mattel’s Dickson, said: “As companies all over do what they can during these uncertain times, we are doing our part. Our design and development teams in El Segundo, CA and East Aurora, NY, are producing face masks from Barbie and Fisher-Price fabric to help meet thee significant demand for these supplies. We are also prototyping personal protective equipment such as face shields for our heroes in the healthcare profession.

“I am inspired by our people at Mattel, as well as the amazing contributions from the toy industry and companies all over the world.”