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Mattel posts wider loss in 1st quarter

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[April 17, 2009]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Mattel Inc., the largest U.S. toymaker, said Friday weak sales overseas and cautious retailer orders lead to a wider first-quarter loss that just missed analyst expectations.

HardwareSales fell in most key product categories: Sales of Barbie -- which is celebrating its 50th anniversary -- fell 5 percent, as a double-digit increase in the U.S. was offset by declines internationally due to the stronger dollar.

Fisher Price sales fell 17 percent, Hot Wheels fell 3 percent and American Girl fell 4 percent.

The toy maker's loss for the quarter ended March 31 totaled $51 million, or 14 cents per share, compared with a loss of $46.6 million, or 13 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected a penny smaller loss of 13 cents per share.

Revenue fell 15 percent to $785.6 million from $919.3 million last year. That missed analyst expectations of $795.8 million.

Sales fell 6 percent in the U.S. and 23 percent internationally. The stronger dollar hurt sales by about 7 percentage points, Mattel said. About half of Mattel's sales come from overseas.

In addition to the stronger dollar, retailer inventory reductions also hurt sales, the El Segundo, Calif.-based company said.

"We've made good progress on several strategically important fronts, and will continue to manage costs and expenses in light of expected revenue challenges," Chief Executive Robert A. Eckert said in a statement.

The first quarter is the seasonally smallest for toy makers.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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