Mattel CEO resigns, toy maker results miss expectations

AP News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2015 2:26 PM
Mattel CEO resigns, toy maker results miss expectations

Mattel Chairman and CEO Bryan Stockton has resigned after the struggling maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars reported fourth-quarter results that fell far short of analyst expectations.

Shares of the El Segundo, California, company slumped Monday after it announced preliminary numbers for the quarter, which includes the holiday shopping season, the lifeblood of any toy maker.

The company said board member Christopher A. Sinclair will replace Stockton as chairman and interim CEO. The 64-year-old-executive has served on Mattel's board since 1996.

The toy maker also disclosed that its net income tumbled 59 percent to $149.9 million from $369.2 million in the three months that ended Dec. 31. On a per-share basis, Mattel earned 44 cents per share in the most recent quarter, or 52 cents per share not counting hits from taxes and costs tied to its acquisition of Mega Bloks owner Mega Brands.

Revenue fell 6 percent to $1.99 billion partially due to foreign exchange rates.

Analysts forecast, on average, earnings of 91 cents per share on $2.14 billion in revenue, according to the data firm FactSet.

Mattel will announce full results from its quarter on Friday.

The company has struggled for several quarters now with slumping sales of its Barbie dolls. Barbie sales fell 21 percent in Mattel's third quarter, which ended Sept. 30. That came after a 15 percent drop in the second quarter.

Making matters worse, late last year, Barbie lost its top spot on the crucial holiday wish lists of girls to merchandise from the Disney hit "Frozen." The National Retail Federation's Holiday Top Toys Survey found that one in five parents, or 20 percent, planned to buy "Frozen" merchandise for their girls. That beat the 16.8 percent who said they were looking to make a Barbie purchase.

Stockton became CEO in January 2012 and then was named chairman a year later. Sinclair said in a statement from the company that the Mattel board believed it was the right time for a change in leadership to maximize the company's potential.

Stockton, a former Kraft Foods executive, served as a Mattel's chief operating officer before becoming CEO.

The company's stock fell 4.3 percent, or $1.22, to $26.83 Monday afternoon, while broader indexes were largely flat. Mattel shares are coming off a year in which their price sank 35 percent, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 11.4 percent.