Hasbro Q4 and full-year 2020 earnings | Source: Hasbro/The Toy Book

Hasbro had a big fourth quarter as strong sales across the U.S. and Canada spiked 16% to drive a 4% increase in overall revenue. The Hasbro Gaming portfolio saw revenues grow 21% while the company’s entire gaming category experienced a 27% boom. Q4 revenues for Entertainment One (eOne) rose 10% alongside a 20% increase in total revenue from TV/film/entertainment and a 7% increase from Hasbro franchise brands, including Monopoly, NERF, and Magic: The Gathering.

Full-year revenues for 2020 declined 8% to $5.4 billion due to COVID-19 related closures and other challenges internationally that were partially offset by the strength of sales in the U.S. and Canada.

“In 2020, we lived our purpose of making the world a better place for all children and all families. In what was a most challenging year, the global Hasbro team fully demonstrated its resilience, tenacity, creativity, flexibility, and empathy,” says Brian Goldner, chairman and CEO, Hasbro. “Our teams successfully drove demand for several product categories across our portfolio including our entire gaming portfolio from Wizards of the Coast brands to face-to-face gaming. They found ways to reach the global consumer despite retail closures throughout the year, delivering over $1 billion in e-commerce revenues for the first time.”

The strength in e-commerce was due in part to increased direct-to-consumer efforts, including Hasbro Pulse. The company also ramped up social outreach efforts.

“Importantly, we focused on our numerous communities, including our most important Hasbro community of employees worldwide and their families,” Goldner says. “This emphasis included engaging on critically important issues of racial equality and justice, and a company-wide re-commitment to diversity, inclusion, and engagement.”

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During Q4, sales for products from partner brands declined 14% despite strong demand and sales growth for Star Wars products, particularly those inspired by Star Wars: The Mandalorian. Goldner says that the decline in partner brands comes from challenging comps against Disney Frozen 2 products. Star Wars revenue grew 70% despite 2020 being the first year without a Star Wars feature film since 2014. Goldner says that even without The Child (Baby Yoda), collector-focused lines, including Star Wars: The Black Series and Star Wars: The Vintage Collection grew revenue for the brand alongside additional growth in the kids business, which includes lightsabers, Mission Fleet, and other items.

G.I. Joe is back on the map as an emerging brand with strong growth alongside Hasbro’s Furreal Friends. Classic games including Jenga, Connect 4, and Dungeons and Dragons drove the overall boom across Hasbro Gaming. On this morning’s call with investors, Goldner stated that while Marvel did not see growth last year — Black Widow was pushed into 2021 — the business is building into a more year-round affair as new content emerges on Disney+.

Source: Hasbro/The Toy Book

Looking ahead, Goldner points to the eOne payoff starting to emerge in future months.

“We integrated our acquisition of eOne and while live-action TV and film production was limited, we made substantial progress developing Hasbro IP for storytelling that we believe will lead to enhanced revenues and earnings power from Hasbro brands from multiple income streams,” Goldner says. “We developed toy and game lines for valuable preschool brands Peppa Pig and PJ Masks to launch later this year.”

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Live-action production from eOne restarted in Q4. eOne completed production on 59 TV series and five feature films last year. The My Little Pony brand has been completely reinvented through eOne and will see new products created both in-house and through third-party licensees to support the release of the new theatrical film that is currently slated for release on Sept. 21.

“Throughout 2020, the global Hasbro team did an excellent job executing in a challenging environment,” says  Deborah Thomas, Hasbro’s chief financial officer. “In the fourth quarter, we grew revenues and adjusted operating profit, overcoming tough comparisons within the partner brand category and last year’s theatrical releases. Our focus on working capital and expense management delivered $976.3 million in operating cash flow for the year, and as part of our commitment to paying down our debt, we repaid $123 million of the debt that we raised to finance the eOne acquisition. We continue to see strong retail, consumer, and audience support for our brands and content as we look to the coming year. Global point of sale increased last year, despite lockdowns and retail disruption, and 2021 is starting with strong year-over-year momentum.”

The company plans to unveil additional information about its future plans at a virtual investor event to be held at 10 a.m. ET on Feb. 25.

Hasbro’s board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.68 per common share. The dividend will be payable on May 17, 2021 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 3.