Mattel says supply snags will not steal Christmas this year

FILE PHOTO: New Barbie dolls from Mattel are pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City
New Barbie dolls from Mattel are pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 21, 2020.
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

Mattel Inc raised its 2021 sales forecast on Thursday, saying it would overcome industry-wide shipping disruptions to ring in a strong holiday season steered by Barbie and Hot Wheels.

The company has pulled forward production, contracted more ocean freight capacity and secured access to additional ports to keep up supply during the most crucial time of the year for toymakers, Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz told Reuters.

While demand for toys is at an all-time high, severe global supply chain bottlenecks have threatened to keep store shelves empty this holiday season, leaving retailers and suppliers scrambling for ways to speed up product shipments.

“We’ve been working through supply chain disruptions, it’s not a normal year. But even with that, we expect to have lots of toys under trees this Christmas holiday,” Kreiz said.

Net sales rose 8% to $1.76 billion in the third quarter, as customers looking to keep their children entertained during the pandemic snapped up Hot Wheels cars and Barbie dolls.

Analysts had estimated sales of $1.69 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The Fisher Price baby toys maker also recorded a 50% surge in sales of action figures based on characters from popular franchises such as “Masters of the Universe”.

It had raised prices earlier this year to counter higher costs of crucial commodities including resin and packaging materials.

Mattel said it expects full-year constant currency net sales to increase by about 15%, compared with its prior forecast for a 12% to 14% rise.

However, the company kept its annual adjusted gross margin forecast unchanged at 47.6% to 48.1%.

Third-quarter net income jumped 161% to $812.6 million, or $2.29 per share, helped by a $510 million non-cash benefit from the release of reserves on some deferred tax assets.