February 3, 2011 |
Mattel Inc., the world's largest toy maker, reported strong fourth-quarter and full-year results Wednesday thanks to healthy sales of core brands and doll lines including Barbie, American Girl and Monster High. For the three months ended Dec. 31, the El Segundo company reported profit of $325.2 million, or 89 cents a share, compared with $328.4 million, or 89 cents, in the same quarter a year earlier. Fourth-quarter sales totaled $2.12 billion, a 9% increase from the year-earlier quarter; sales in the U.S. were up 11%. The fourth quarter is the most important time of the year for toy makers, with many seeing nearly 40% of their sales come during the holiday rush.
November 7, 2010 |
For parents, finding the right holiday toy isn't all fun and games. After a robotic hamster became the breakout hit last Christmas, the race is on to snag this year's hot toy. But what is it? No front runner has emerged yet, but parents and kids have been buzzing about squishy pencil toppers, a Barbie equipped with a real video camera and toy musical instruments that can be played by lightly touching the paper surface. "Part of what makes a toy the must-have toy is the scarcity in finding it," said Sean McGowan, a toy analyst at Needham & Co. "There's social currency attached to being the parent who can deliver it and the kid who gets it. " Toys may be a bright spot during what industry watchers are predicting will be another tough holiday season for consumer spending.
September 1, 2010 |
This time, Mexican authorities took their prey alive. Monday's bloodless capture of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, a fair-haired Texan accused of helping run a murderous drug-trafficking gang in Mexico, could yield more breakthroughs by giving Mexican and U.S. authorities a deeper look into the workings of Mexico's drug underworld, analysts said Tuesday. In addition, Valdez's status as an American citizen may ease his possible handover to the United States, where he is wanted on cocaine-smuggling charges, by allowing authorities to skip or shorten the often-lengthy extradition process.
August 30, 2010 |
Mexico announced the capture Monday of one of its most wanted alleged drug lords, a Texas-born figure accused of unleashing a wave of brutal slayings near Mexico City as part of a ruthless battle with rivals. Edgar Valdez Villarreal, also known by the improbable nickname "La Barbie," was seized by federal police in the state of Mexico, the region surrounding Mexico City, the Public Security Ministry said in a statement. Valdez allegedly served as the top enforcer for Arturo Beltran Leyva, a major kingpin killed by Mexican marines in December.
August 13, 2010 |
Barbie wouldn't last a day at Monster High. The latest fashion dolls from Mattel Inc. are a dramatic departure from the toy maker's most recognizable blond: As the offspring of famous monsters, the new Monster High girls are fearless, occasionally furry and a bit freaky. There's Draculaura, daughter of Dracula, who is vegan and faints at the sight of blood. Her best friend Clawdeen Wolf, whose father is Werewolf, spends much of her time plucking and shaving her excessive, fast-growing hair.
May 2, 2010 |
In the world according to Barbie, the Mattel doll met and fell in love with Ken in 1961 on the set of a TV commercial. Over the decades, Ken has held some 40 jobs, including Olympic gold medalist and hair stylist. The two even broke up last decade because of Ken's reluctance to tie the knot. But according to Barbie's blog last year, this legendary couple has reunited. But in Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story 3," which opens June 18, Ken is a swinging bachelor who lives in a daycare center where Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Mr. Potato Head and the gang come to live after their beloved owner, Andy, heads off to college.
February 12, 2010
Dear Amy: My mother and "Barbie" started working in a nursing home more than 25 years ago and are good friends. Mom retired in 2008, and Barbie still works there part time. Mom suffered a stroke last spring and wanted us to put her in the home where she worked. At first, Barbie was so helpful. She truly was a godsend. But things have changed. Barbie visits my mom at the nursing home every single day, and I know Mom likes to see her. My brother and I try to visit Mom at least once a week, but our jobs and family commitments make it impossible for us to see her as often as we would like.
January 30, 2010 |
Strong Christmas sales of Barbie and other toys helped push Mattel Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit up 86% compared with the same period a year earlier, the nation's largest toy maker said. The El Segundo company has been working to rebuild its performance after months of frugal consumer spending. Its image also took a hit after a spate of high-profile recalls in 2007 related to excessive levels of lead and harmful magnets. A year ago, Mattel said it would aggressively cut costs and improve its supply chain; on Friday, Chief Executive Robert A. Eckert said those moves bolstered the company's fourth-quarter and full-year results.
December 14, 2009 |
"Nip/Tuck" Wednesday on FX Episode: "Lola Wlodkowski" The premise: Lola (Danica Sheridan), a morbidly obese woman, approaches Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) for weight-reduction surgery. Before proceeding with the planned liposuction and tummy tuck, Christian becomes sexually involved with his patient. He also discovers and biopsies a melanoma on her back, which has spread to her lymph nodes and will require chemotherapy. Meanwhile, Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh)