* First-quarter adjusted earning $0.14 per share vs est.
* Revenue rises 2 pct to $679.5 mln vs est. $690.17 mln
* Girls toys sales up 21 pct, boy toy sales up 2 pct
* Shares rise 4.2 pct to all-time high
(Adds CEO, analyst's comments, details on girls toys, updates
April 21 Hasbro Inc reported a
better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong demand for toys
such as My Little Pony, that have strong tie-ins with TV shows
aimed at little girls.
Sales of toys aimed at girls grew 21 percent in the first
quarter, while toys for boys rose just 2 percent, although the
company's boys lines will likely be boosted by the upcoming
release of Transformer and Spider-Man movies.
Hasbro's shares rose as much as 4.2 percent to touch an
all-time high of $56.91 in early trading on Monday.
The growth in Hasbro's sales of toys for girls contrasts
with the fading sales of Barbie dolls, which dragged rival
Mattel Inc to its first quarterly loss in nearly five
Barbie, a billion-dollar brand modeled on an adult woman and
her career, has fallen out of favor with girls who increasingly
prefer dolls with storylines more in keeping with their age.
Hasbro has tasted success with its My Little Pony franchise,
including a TV series based on the equine characters with
colorful bodies and manes. Accessories include teenage human
versions of the ponies, plush toys, clothing and books.
"With My Little Pony, Hasbro is having tremendous success
because they are developing not just physical toys but also
content that helps little girls understand storylines and
character development," Piper Jaffray analyst Stephanie Wissink
Mattel has been successful with its American Girl toy range,
which comprise chubby-faced dolls portraying 8-11 year-old girls
of different ethnicities. They are sold with storybooks from the
viewpoint of the dolls.
Sales of Hasbro's toys for girls was also helped by strong
demand for a bow-and-arrow-based offshoot of its Nerf line of
gun toys - the Nerf Rebelle - that cashed in on the popularity
of the 'Hunger Games' movie series.
The girls' toy business grew to $138.7 million in the first
quarter ended March 30 and accounted for 20.4 percent of total
revenue, up from 17.3 percent a year earlier.
Revenue from boys' toys, the company's largest business
category, inched up to $247.8 million. Revenue from both
preschool toys and games, which include Monopoly and Pictionary,
fell 4 percent.
"We're seeing our market share in girls, particularly in
dolls, grow in the U.S. and around the world and we're also
seeing that growth in outdoor activities where Nerf Rebelle has
scored ...," Hasbro Chief Executive Brian Goldner said on a
post-earnings conference call.
Many of Hasbro's action figures are based on partnerships
with studio films, which vary in popularity each year.
Demand has been weak industrywide for action figures and
preschool toys, two important categories for Hasbro, as children
shift their focus to mobile devices, analysts have said.
However, Wissink said she expects shipments of action
figures to accelerate in the second quarter with the release of
the new Spider-Man movie in May and the next installment of the
Transformers franchise in late June.
Hasbro owns the Transformers brand and holds the toy
licenses for Marvel Comics' characters, which have had a
phenomenal box office run over the last few years, most recently
with the success of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier".
Hasbro's first-quarter revenue rose 2 percent to $679.5
million, falling short of the average analyst estimate of
International revenue rose 5 percent to $305.5 million,
offsetting a 1 percent decline in sales in North America.
Net income was $32.1 million, or 24 cents per share,
compared with a net loss of $6.7 million, or 5 cents per share,
a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 14 cents per share.
Analysts on average had expected a profit of 10 cents per
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Hasbro shares, which have risen 18.9 percent in the 12
months to Thursday's close, were up 0.7 percent at $55.00 in
afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. Mattel shares were up 1 percent
at $37.85 on Monday.
At Thursday's closing price, Hasbro's stock was trading at
16.67 times forward earnings. Mattel's shares were trading at a
multiple of 13.75.
(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Shailaja Sharma in
Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel and Savio D'Souza)