Barbie losing friends

Barbie is getting lonely – keeping owner Mattel in the red in the March quarter.

The toymaker has reported a loss of US$73.2 million for the three months, more than the $58.2 million it lost in the same quarter last year. Net sales fell 5.8 per cent to $869.4 million.

A significant factor in the company’s performance was the loss of the key Disney licence to rival Hasbro, including the characters from the animated film Frozen. Hasbro reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales and profit.

“Our results in the quarter reflect very solid progress, particularly in light of significant headwinds we faced at the outset of 2016,” chairman and CEO Christopher Sinclair said in a statement.

Sales of the iconic blonde Barbie doll fell three per cent in the first quarter after falling 14 per cent in 2015, despite the recent launch of three new body types

But Barbie still proved more popular than Mattel’s Other Girls brand, which plunged 62 per cent, and American Girl, down 12 per cent.

Non-doll products bucked the trend: the Hot Wheels model collection boosted sales by 2 per cent and Fisher-Price by three per cent. 

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