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Mattel's quarter buoyed by doll sales during pandemic

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi break down Mattel’s latest earnings report with ToyInsider Senior Editor, James Zahn.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: OK, Mattel saw sales rise during the pandemic. Revenue rose 10% year over year to $1.63 billion in the third quarter Here to tell us what kids were playing with is James Zahn, Senior Editor at The Toy Insider. James, explain to us why are Barbie doll sales soaring really off charts here.

JAMES ZAHN: Yeah, we are back into some rocking times for the toy industry. Mattel had this surprisingly great quarter, coming out of the third quarter with a lot of classic play. And we've been talking about that this year how families are reconnecting largely over brands that moms and dads and grandparents, they've all played with this stuff is kids, so Barbie is back. The doll category rose 24%. Barbie herself 29%. Even American Girl that Mattel has been struggling with, they cut losses there. They didn't have a very big decline this quarter. Good stuff all the way around.

Hot Wheels, Matchbox, these again, classic play coming together. The vehicles category took a hit in quarter two. Quarter three, it bounced back. It was up 8%. Hot Wheels itself is getting double digit increases at POS, so that's fantastic. And then one thing that came up a couple of times on yesterday's earnings call with Ynon Kreiz is that Masters of the Universe is indeed back, and it launched this summer at Walmart is an exclusive. It's exclusive through fall, and then it goes wide next year to other retailers. The new line is called Masters of the Universe Origins. These are figures based on the ones from the '80s, but they have updated articulations so that folks can pose them, take photos, all this good stuff.

BRIAN SOZZI: James, our producer Nick Monte has been saving up all year for this collection. Do you have any of those He-Man dolls by you?


BRIAN SOZZI: What do they look like? How much are they? Are they going to be big? What's the outlook.

JAMES ZAHN: Yep, so these are the 5.5 inch figures. I've got He-Man right here. I've got Skeletor right here. You know, you can--

BRIAN SOZZI: Wow. Mid-life crisis for us.

JAMES ZAHN: Play with them just the way you did when you were a kid. 14.95 a piece on those. I got a couple others I can show you here. Evil-Lyn. How about Man at Arms. These, yeah, 14.95 at Walmart. And then they actually have a couple of vehicles sets that are out exclusively. He-Man and Battle Cat are back. And then next spring, the Icon returns-- Castle Grayskull will be back on shelves. And then all the other familiar characters like Roboto and Orko and Scareglow, all the characters from those old Filmation cartoons and the Mattel toys that we played with as kids, it's all back, and it leads into a pair.

There's two separate Masters of the Universe animated series that are coming out on Netflix. So one of them, "Masters of the Universe Revelation" is being led by Kevin Smith, the filmmaker that did "Clerks." And the other one is a completely new imagining for a new generation, so two opposite sides of the spectrum, but they're all set in Eternia.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, what about Hasbro? It is out next week with earnings. Do you expect that their report will be as strong as Mattel?

JAMES ZAHN: I think we're going to see some good things out of Hasbro but from a different side. You know, they are really starting to focus on the E1 division, which they acquired the end of last year. They finalized that, I mean, right on the cusp of the new year. We're now starting to see that pay off a little bit. They did take a pandemic hit with production on shows having to be rearranged and moved to remote for some of their animation.

But just this past week, they announced that E1 is going to take the reigns to reinvent the Power Rangers in live action for both film and television products. That's also going to roll over into the new toys. Those are not necessarily going to be kid focused, but they have a kid line going on right now, which is the "Beastmorphers" series.

And then all that preschool stuff, "Ricky Zoom" is hitting hard, "PJ Masks," "Peppa Pig," and there's a reinvented My Little Pony called "Pony Life," which is coming out of E1 Animation next year. So there's a lot happening, but their game portfolio should have given them quite a strong quarter three. And then of course, we get to say a little green friend, The Child. Mando mondays is starting.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, you know I like that little guy. You know--

JAMES ZAHN: Oh, yes.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: I also, in my family, we like to collect those Hess trucks, right? A new one usually comes out--

JAMES ZAHN: Oh, yeah.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Every year around Christmas, so what's going on this year? I hope that tradition continues.

JAMES ZAHN: Oh, it's continuing, and I have it here. This is celebrating first responders this year. This is the Hess Ambulance and Rescue. We've got--


Real sounds and lights. This set has almost 100 LED lights built into it. There is a rescue vehicle in the back. This is one of those old school pullback vehicles. Pull it back, it pops wheelies. Traditionally, these have been coming out on November 1 every year. They are available now. They actually launched yesterday at HessToyTruck.com. They only sell these through the website now, because I'm sure you're familiar, Hess corporation had sold their gas stations to Speedway.

And you know, families, going back to 1964, Leon Hess created the idea of the Hess toy truck as an affordable, high quality gift for families. It became an East Coast tradition. Now it's a national and even a global thing. Folks collect these, they pass them down, they're heirlooms. That was a Toy Industry Hall of Fame nominee. And really, for families that have never played with one of these, they are shockingly great quality. So that's always cool, and they include the Energizer--