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Toy sales still hot into 2021

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Mattel's earnings beat Wall Street expectations, as did Hasbro. The companies expect to see better sales into 2021 as toys tied to movies start to hit the shelves.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

SEANA SMITH: Mattel was out with earnings earlier this hour, beating estimates on both the top and bottom line, similar to what we heard from Hasbro earlier this week. For more on this, we want to bring in James Zahn. He is a Toy Insider. And I guess, James, we saw strong quarters here from both Mattel and Hasbro. What stands out to you during this holiday quarter from these toy companies?

JAMES ZAHN: You know, a lot of families were trying to make the holiday special for their kids, and that was really reflected at the cash register this season. We saw big numbers across the board for both companies. Hasbro was up double digits in North America. Mattel literally just put out their earnings. They were up 10% and 2% for the year, which was fantastic for them.

And I think a lot of what's driving that is classic players coming back. They've got these legacy brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels. Masters of the Universe is back. Hasbro, of course, has their portfolio of Hasbro games. And then they've got a lot of tie-ins coming up. Star Wars did well for them last year. Overall, it was just really positive.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Let's look forward because I understand you have some examples of, I think it's the new Ghostbusters toys that are coming from Hasbro. And I could have used a distraction about 30 minutes ago. The five-year-old and three-year-old next door are redoing the Battle of Gettysburg, and the yelling is loud.

JAMES ZAHN: So this right here is actually the Transformers times Ghostbusters Afterlife Ectotron. This is a new Transformers figure that becomes the classic Ecto 1 vehicle from Ghostbusters, but as seen in Ghostbusters Afterlife, which, of course, is the delayed movie that we're hoping is going to really end up in theaters this fall.

But they're really bringing out a lot of stuff that was supposed to be out last year. We were supposed to see some more real Ghostbusters from the late '80s get rereleased. That started trickling out. They just rereleased the Ghost Popper, which was out 25, 30 years ago. And then they've got a fresh lineup tied to this new movie.

And Ghostbusters Afterlife is just kind of the start of the movies we should have saw last year that didn't come out and hopefully will come out this year. That rolls into the Marvel stuff as well. There's a big slate there. And then we'd be-- we have to announce the GI Joe Snake Eyes movie was supposed to be out this past fall. And that's one of Hasbro's own IPs. That should be out this October.

SEANA SMITH: James, how do you think Hasbro and Mattel have both done, just in terms of adapting their e-commerce strategy? Because we know that that has been very successful when we talk about some of those big retailers, like Target, like Walmart, that sells a lot of their toys.

JAMES ZAHN: Yeah, so Hasbro has done a really good job with what they call Hasbro Pulse. It's a direct-to-consumer platform where they sell a lot of premium collectibles. A lot of their own IP goes out there. So we see the Transformers, the Power Rangers, GI Joe. We're starting to see some Star Wars, some licensed stuff hit there. They're doing Fan First Fridays, where they connect with the audience via livestream, introduce those folks online to the brand teams. So there's a little bit of a personal connection. And then it drives those sales.

Similarly, Mattel has been ramping up this platform called Mattel Creations. It presents toys as art and art as toys. They do these collaborations where they partner with artists like Stussy, for example, these brands, and then they put their stamp on things, like a Magic Eight Ball or a Masters of the Universe character. And they put it out. It's at a high price. It's a premium item for a premium price. And it's really connecting with people in new ways. And then, on top of that, they've got their retail partnerships, where they're selling exclusive products through storefronts on Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

SEANA SMITH: James, always great to have you on the show. James Zahn of Toy Insider, we'll talk to you again soon. Thanks for joining us.