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LeapFrog 1st-qtr net loss narrows as sales improve

EMERYVILLE, Calif. (AP) -- Educational toy maker LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. said Thursday its first-quarter loss narrowed, helped by stronger revenue both in the U.S. and internationally.

Results beat expectations, but LeapFrog's guidance for the full year was somewhat lighter than analysts expected.

LeapFrog makes hardware and software including its popular LeapPad2 tablet for youngsters. Content sales — such as illustrated e-books for the LeapPad2 and other hardware — were the biggest driver of the company's higher sales, but gains were broad based, said CEO John Barbour.

"Sales were strong across content, platforms, accessories and toys, with each exhibiting double-digit sales growth rates, and also benefited from an earlier Easter than in 2012," Barbour said.

Net loss for the three months ended March 31 totaled $3 million, or 4 cents per share. That compares with a net loss of $9.5 million, or 14 cents per share last year. Analysts, on average, expected a loss of 7 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 15 percent to $82.9 million from $71 million a year ago. Wall Street expected revenue of $79.4 million.

U.S. sales rose 11 percent to $58.1 million, while international sales rose 26 percent to $24.8 million.

LeapFrog said it still expects net income of 57 cents to 60 cents per share for the year, with sales up in the high single-digit percentage rate compared with a year ago. Analysts expect 61 cents per share.

Wall Street is forecasting revenue of $624.8 million, on average, which would represent a 7 percent increase from the $581.3 million in sales the company reported for all of 2012.

For the second quarter the company predicts a net loss of 8 cents to 10 cents per share. Analysts expect a loss of 8 cents per share.

Shares slipped a penny, to $8.55 during premarket trading, after earlier dipping as low as $8.25. The stock closed Wednesday at $8.56, down less than 1 percent since the start of the year, and has traded between $7 and $12.28 over the past 52 weeks.