April 17, 2014 / 12:31 PM / 3 years ago

Mattel posts quarterly loss as Barbie sales plummet

Mattel's Barbie dolls on sale are pictured inside a shop of a life-size "Barbie Dreamhouse" during a media tour in Berlin, in a May 15, 2013 file photo.Fabrizio Bensch/files

(Reuters) - Mattel Inc (MAT.O), the world's largest toymaker, reported a net loss for the first quarter due to a fall in sales of its iconic Barbie dolls and Fisher-Price toys for preschoolers.

Worldwide sales of Barbie fell 14 percent in the quarter ended March 31, but those of American Girl dolls rose 5 percent.

Sales of Fisher-Price toys declined 6 percent.

Mattel said its sales in North America, which accounts for half of its total revenue, fell 2 percent. International sales were down 7 percent.

As demand for its Barbie dolls and preschool toys slows, Mattel is shifting focus to the fast-growing market for building block toys to boost sales.

In February, the company offered to buy Canada's Mega Brands Inc MB.TO for about $460 million to better compete with Denmark's Lego, which leads the building block toys market.

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.

Worldwide sales fell 5 percent to $946.2 million.

Analysts on average had expected sales of $952.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Mattel's shares closed at $37.88 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. The stock has fallen about 20 percent this year.

Reporting by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey

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