Hasbro profit misses view

NEW YORK Mon Feb 9, 2009 8:35am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hasbro Inc HAS.N posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Monday as shoppers bought fewer toys during the holiday season, and it said it would focus on cutting costs in the year ahead.

The No. 2 toy company, which makes the G.I. Joe and Transformers toys, said it expected its sales and earnings per share to grow in 2009 if economic conditions and the effect of the stronger U.S. dollar do not worsen.

Hasbro, like its bigger rival Mattel Inc MAT.N, took a hit from sharp cutbacks in consumer spending, which led to the worst holiday selling season in nearly four decades.

Shoppers pared spending on everything from clothes to jewelry and toys for their children, as they contended with job losses, a credit crunch and weak home values.

Where they did buy, it was at a deep discount.

In the year ahead, Hasbro said it would concentrate on cutting costs and managing its operating cash flow "given the severity of the downturn in global economies."

The company will sell key toys this year based on the "G.I. Joe - The Rise of the Cobra" and "Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen" movies -- products that analysts have said will bolster 2009 sales and give it an edge over Mattel.

Hasbro's net profit fell to $93.6 million, or 62 cents a share, from $133.7 million, or 84 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected 76 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Sales fell 5 percent to $1.2 billion, Hasbro said.

Hasbro's results come a week after Mattel also posted disappointing earnings, hurt by the global economic downturn.N02372846

The fourth quarter "clearly had significant headwinds -- the negative impact of foreign exchange and the broad based global economic downturn," Hasbro's Chief Financial Office David Hargreaves said in a statement.

Hasbro said it did not buy back any shares in the fourth quarter.

Hasbro's shares, which closed at $23.54 on Friday, were not traded in premarket.

(Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Maureen Bavdek)