BY UDAY SAMPATH
Mattel Inc <MAT.O> will have a new line of “Baby Yoda” toys ready to hit shelves in time for Christmas, the toymaker said on Tuesday, as it joined rival Hasbro in charting a recovery from the financial damage caused by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Mattel said its global manufacturing and distribution facilities, including in China where it produces 60% of its products, were largely back to operating at full capacity.
However, Mattel Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz told Reuters that while he was expecting demand to increase towards the vital end-of-year holiday shopping season, any ramp up in production would be dependent on evidence of consumer demand rising in the coming months.
Hasbro Inc <HAS.O> said last week its supply chains had also been fully restored in China, but warned of a hit to sales in the second quarter as the health crisis drives the world into recession.
Mattel, known for its Barbie and Hot Wheels toys, said net sales fell 14% to $594.1 million in the first quarter ended March 31, as toy stores were forced to close in strict government lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus.
Kreiz said retail outlets, that normally account for about a third of Mattel’s sales volumes, were closed at the end of March.
Still, Mattel said it shipped about 750,000 plush toys based on the viral Baby Yoda character from the “The Mandalorian” Star Wars series on Disney+, and would be ready to meet holiday demand.
The company’s net loss widened to $210.7 million, or 61 cents per share, in the first quarter, from $176.3 million, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier.
Mattel said it had $1.6 billion credit line and enough cash on hand to weather through the crisis.