* First-qtr net loss $0.03/share vs $0.11 profit year
* First-qtr adjusted profit $0.01/share vs est. $0.09
* Sales fall 5 pct to $946.2 mln vs est. $952.9 mln
* Shares fall as much as 3 pct
(Adds details, analysts comments; updates shares)
By Shailaja Sharma
April 17 Mattel Inc, the world's largest
toymaker, reported its first quarterly net loss in nearly five
years due to a double-digit fall in sales of its iconic Barbie
dolls, sending the company's shares down as much as 3 percent in
Mattel's worldwide sales fell 5 percent to $946.2 million in
the quarter ended March 31 due to lower demand for its key toy
Sales of Barbie dolls fell 14 percent, while those of
Fisher-Price line aimed at infants and preschoolers declined 6
Mattel has looked to newer products to boost sales as
children increasingly opt for electronic games and other gaming
activities over traditional toys that are decades old.
Barbie made her debut in 1959, distinguishing herself in the
mass market for dolls with her fashion model-like figure.
"(Barbie is) still a $1.2 billion business. It is still very
meaningful for Mattel and it is very hard to grow a $1 billion
business," Morningstar analyst Jaime Katz told Reuters.
In February, the company offered to buy Canada's Mega Brands
Inc for about $460 million to compete with Denmark's
Lego, the leader in the fast growing market for building blocks.
Earlier this month, Mattel launched a new line of toy guns
Sales of its chubby-faced American Girl dolls grew 5
percent, slower than in recent quarters.
The decline in sales mostly reflects higher retail
inventories entering the quarter and the timing of Easter, which
falls in the company's second quarter this year, Stifel Nicolaus
analyst Drew Crum wrote in a note.
Mattel's gross sales declined 10 percent in the
all-important holiday quarter as shoppers spent less on
discretionary items such as toys, especially the action figures
and preschool toys that represent the largest categories for
Mattel and rival Hasbro Inc.
Mattel reported a net loss of $11.2 million, or 3 cents per
share, for the first quarter, compared with a net income of
$38.5 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 1 cent per share, below
the average analyst estimate of 9 cents per share, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Gross margins fell 330 basis points to 50.9 percent.
Mattel's shares were down 2.3 percent at $37.01 in late
morning trading on the Nasdaq. The stock had fallen about 20
percent this year to Wednesday's close.
(Editing by Kirti Pandey)