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Mattel misses earnings in fourth quarter sales results

Mattel has cited both retail discounting and last minute Christmas shoppers as contributing factors to its slowdown in sales in the fourth quarter.

The global toy firm posted lower than expected sales results, missing both earnings and revenue estimates, forcing shares in the company to drop by 14 per cent.

Mattel chief executive, Christopher Sinclair, said: “The key holiday periods saw a significant decline in industry sales growth and while the trend of the consumer coming out later isn’t surprising, the pattern this year was much more dramatic.

“The result of this slowdown and shift in sales led to a significant increase in retail discounting and pressured shipments, particularly in December.”

However, despite the sales dip, Mattel’s big three: Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price each saw upturns with Hot Wheels securing a 13 per cent increase in global sales and Fisher-Price up two per cent.

Market Watch reports that Mattel cited The NPD Group report that found US toys sales up five per cent, reaching $20.4 billion in 2016, but described Thanksgiving and Christmas performance as mixed.

“Holiday 2016 taught us that extra shopping days and earlier online promotions don’t necessarily translate to more overall sales,” said Juli Lennett, NPD US toys industry analyst.

“Retailers need to increase shopping visits earlier in the holiday season and improve overall sales volumes across all channels.

“The online channel continues to grow at the expense of brick and mortar and the toy industry needs to address how to make up for the volumes tied to in-store impulse purchases, an important sales generator.”

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