Barbie Is the Hottest Christmas Toy of 2013, But Will It Boost Mattel Stock?

Mattel stock up 24% year to date

   

With no real “hot, must-have” toys for 2013, the toy of choice seems to be Barbie, a dated Mattel (MAT) favorite that is poised to make a comeback.

As retails scramble to push their toys on consumers, no true winner has emerged. That has sent parents to the old Barbie standby — with Mattel perhaps poised to reap the gain.

From MarketWatch:

When retailers anticipate demand for a toy, they stock up, and the number of tractor-trailer-size shipping containers filled with smiling Barbies from Mattel arriving at U.S. ports during the critical August-through-October retailer order window was up 6% this year, hitting 2,441 and making Barbie the No. 1 most popular toy, according to Panjiva, a company that tracks imports on toys made overseas. (Shipment numbers represent each time the product term was written on a bill of lading arriving at U.S. ports.)

Only two other dolls made it onto Panjiva’s top 10 list: Mattel’s Monster High dolls, a line featuring teen goth characters inspired by monster movies and books, which comes in at No. 3 with 828 shipments; and Jakks Pacific’s Sofia the First doll, the title character in Disney’s new animated Disney series about a girl princess, at No. 7 with 364 shipments.

While the move toward Barbie is good for Christmas, it’s uncertain if Mattel stock will reap the rewards.

Mattel stock is up 24% year-to-date, but down 1.5% in the past five days. Mattel had a rough Q2 2013 earnings report, which caused a selloff mid-summer. The next quarter, however, Mattel regained its footing by beating the estimated EPS by $0.09 per share.
But how much momentum does Barbie have? Recall that Bratz dolls and Moxie Girls dolls are still seen as more “trend” for children with product tie-ins, TV shows, and a fresh appeal that isn’t tied rooted in a brand a half-century old.
Barbie arrived in stores in 1959 — when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president — and in the years since has sometimes struggled to find her footing, amid both competition from newcomers like MGA Entertainment’s leopard-print-clad Bratz dolls and criticism from researchers showing how Barbie’s unrealistic proportions affect young girls’ body image.
… “Mattel does find ways to keep Barbie contemporary,” says Derrick Daye, managing director at Los Angeles-based consultancy The Blake Project, but he says some parents may buy the doll because it reminds them of their own childhood.
If children don’t exactly see what their nostalgic-eyed parents do in the toy dolls, chances are Mattel will have continue moving in other directions. But for a toy that has always done well for Mattel, the world’s largest doll brand in the world most certain still has better days ahead.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, http://investorplace.com/2013/12/barbie-hottest-christmas-toy-2013-mattel-stock/.

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