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Toy Industry

April 25, 2006 | From the Associated Press
Toy maker Hasbro Inc. reported a wider loss for the first quarter and said the second quarter would be challenging as the company braces for a falloff in "Star Wars" merchandise sales. The first-quarter loss of $4.9 million, or 3 cents a share, for the three months ended April 2, was blamed largely on foreign currency fluctuation and new accounting rules for stock options. In the same quarter last year, Hasbro lost $3.7 million, or 2 cents a share.
April 19, 2006 | Tanya Caldwell, Times Staff Writer
U.S. children gave Barbie a little love and the tax man handed over a big gain in the first quarter, helping toy maker Mattel Inc. post a hefty increase in net income Tuesday. But Mattel said its iconic doll remained stuck in a two-year sales slump internationally, and the El Segundo company reported a $32-million operating loss, which included $13 million in severance charges because of recent layoffs. Mattel's net income rose to $30.2 million, or 8 cents a share, from $6.
April 17, 2006 | Abigail Goldman, Times Staff Writer
American Girl doesn't have to look far for a reminder of how a top-tier toy name can fade. The upscale doll unit of Mattel Inc. will open its third American Girl Place store this weekend at the Grove in Los Angeles. It is hoping to avoid the fate of the previous tenant, FAO Schwarz, whose parent company filed for bankruptcy protection after more than 100 years in business. The challenge facing American Girl: how to maintain its cachet amid double-digit growth.
February 13, 2006 | From Reuters
Last year was not very playful for the U.S. toy industry, with sales falling almost 4%, market research firm NPD Group said Sunday. In 2005, total sales for the beleaguered industry declined to $21.3 billion from $22.1 billion the year before, NPD analyst Anita Frazier said at the American International Toy Fair in New York. That qualified as a "so-so" year for toymakers, who have been grappling with intense price competition, slipping revenue, higher costs and store closings.
January 19, 2006 | From Bloomberg News
Jakks Pacific Inc., the Malibu-based maker of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. action figures, said it had agreed to buy Creative Designs International Ltd., a Pennsylvania firm that makes girls' dress-up tiaras and vanity tables, for $116.5 million. Acquiring Creative Designs International would provide Jakks with licenses to make dress-up accessories based on Walt Disney Co. characters, Chief Operating Officer Stephen Berman said. Shares of Jakks Pacific surged 75 cents to $20.98.
December 15, 2005 | Susan Carpenter, Times Staff Writer
MARIA SMITH admits she "went too wild." After a midmorning shopping binge in the toy district downtown, her arms were straining from the bulk of multiple plastic bags stuffed with Marvel coloring books and blinking necklaces, tentacled rubber balls and Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards, confetti, gift bags and streamers -- all of it purchased for a fraction of what she would have paid at the mall. "It's a lot less expensive to come down to L.A.
October 13, 2005 | From Associated Press
Francie Todd's two boys may not notice it, but there will be fewer toys under the tree this Christmas. Amid higher gasoline prices and other effects of Hurricane Katrina, Todd plans to cut her toy spending in half. "You look at the economic climate overall, and this is not a good time to run up the credit cards," said Todd of East Lansing, Mich., who planned to spend about $100 on toys for each child, down from $200 last year.
October 11, 2005 | Roger Vincent, Times Staff Writer
Mattel Inc. said goodbye Monday to Barbie's boss and combined its two largest divisions after nearly two years of declining sales of the iconic doll line. The El Segundo toy maker joined its Mattel and Fisher-Price units and named Neil B. Friedman, 58, to head the combined operations, a promotion from his position as head of the improving Fisher-Price division.
July 19, 2005 | Melinda Fulmer, Times Staff Writer
Helped by strong sales of "Star Wars" merchandise, toy maker Hasbro Inc. reported a 56% jump in second-quarter profit Monday while rival Mattel Inc. posted disappointing results as costs rose and its Barbie franchise continued to sputter. It was the seventh straight quarter of sliding sales for Mattel's largest product line. A makeover last year designed to make the blond icon more appealing to older girls hasn't stemmed the downturn.
March 18, 2005 | From Associated Press
A recharged Toys R Us Inc. may help energize an industry suffering from price wars with behemoth discounters and from weaker sales because children want computer games and digital music players instead of stuffed animals, toy vendors and analysts said Thursday. They are hoping that the $6.
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