Source: Mattel

Mattel Inc. kicked off the toy industry’s third quarter earnings season today with positive news on the company’s continued turnaround efforts.

Net sales in Q3 spiked 8% to $1.76 billion compared to $1.63 billion during the same period last year. In the first nine months of 2021, Mattel’s sales crushed estimates with a massive 24% increase over 2020.

“This was another strong quarter for Mattel, with increased consumer demand for our products and results exceeding expectations,” says Mattel Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz. “We successfully navigated ongoing global supply chain disruption, achieved sales growth, and, per The NPD Group, continued to gain market share. We expect to grow for the balance of the year and have a strong holiday season. Our strength is foundational and broad-based, and we are on a clear path to improve profitability and accelerate top-line growth.”

Mattel’s operating income in Q3 rose to $389 million as the company’s reported earnings per share hit $2.29, an improvement of $1.40 per share.

Category and Brand Highlights

Gross billings and net sales for Mattel products across North America spiked 12% amid increased demand for action figures; building sets; games; “other,” including Jurassic World, Masters of the Universe, WWE, plush, and MEGA; vehicles including Hot Wheels; dolls, including Barbie, Spirit, and Polly Pocket; and infant, toddler, and preschool, including Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends. International gross billings were up 3% as international net sales grew 2%. Action figures alone were up more than 50% in Q3 and Hot Wheels are up 20% year-to-date and should finish 2021 with a fourth consecutive year of growth.

American Girl continued its slow return to growth with a 1% increase in net sales for the quarter and is expected to finish the year with growth in the low single digits.

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Globally, the vehicles category continued to show strength with gross billings up 6% driven by growth in Hot Wheels. Growth in Power Wheels was called out for offsetting some declines in Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends as infant, toddler, and preschool gross billings slipped 1% for the quarter.

The biggest spike in gross billings came from the action figures, building sets, games, and “other” categories. A 26% increase was led by growth in plush and building sets along with action figures, driven by growth in Masters of the Universe, Jurassic World, and WWE, with gains partially offset by a decline in games.

Fighting the Supply Chain Issues

As expected, Mattel’s size is a benefit as the company has used many tools to mitigate supply chain issues this year. On a call with investors this evening, Kreiz noted that the company built cost increases and other challenges into its planning for this year. He said that the company brought in raw materials early and was able to invest in duplicate tooling for certain items in order to have production taking place in multiple locations — essentially, dual sourcing.

Mattel expects to have a successful holiday season and has issued updated guidance calling for a full-year net sales increase of approximately 15% in 2021.