April 25, 2019 / 8:17 PM / a month ago

Mattel beats revenue estimates as Barbie shines again; shares jump 12 pct

April 25 (Reuters) - Mattel Inc beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue on Thursday, as the company sold more Barbie dolls and saw healthy demand for toys based on the "Jurassic World" and "Toy Story" franchises in the United States.

Shares of the company jumped 12 percent to $13.70 in after hours trading.

The results, which come days after rival Hasbro Inc reported a surprise quarterly profit, indicate that U.S. toymakers may have put behind them the sudden demise of toy retailer Toys "R" Us.

"We've moved on past Toys "R" Us," Mattel Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz told Reuters, adding that the company was benefiting from its expanded partnerships with other retailers, ranging from grocers to drug stores.

A makeover of Mattel's 60-year-old Barbie brand with new skin tones and professions and a focus on toys based on big Hollywood franchises like "Toy Story" and "Jurassic World" highlight the toymaker's efforts to connect with changing preferences of a new generation of kids.

Barbie gross sales rose 7 percent in the first quarter, the sixth straight quarter of growth.

Under Kreiz, who once headed TV production house Endemol Group, Mattel is developing its own slate of television shows and movies to boost sales of traditional toys, with a live-action Barbie movie starring Oscar-nominated actress Margot Robbie on the cards.

"When you have big projects with big stars in the quality of Margot Robbie... you can assume it will have a large effect on the marketplace," Kreiz said.

The company's net sales fell 2.7 percent to $689.2 million in the first quarter ended March 31, but topped the $645 million analysts had expected, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Sales would have ticked up 1 percent excluding the effect of a stronger dollar, the company said, buoyed by a surprise rise in sales in North America.

Mattel's net loss narrowed to $183.7 million, or 53 cents per share, from $311.3 million, or 90 cents per share, a year earlier, when the company was hammered by sales reversals and bad debts related to Toys "R" Us.

Kreiz said a voluntary recall by Fisher-Price earlier this month of all its "Rock 'n Play Sleeper" products following reports of more than 30 infant deaths had an estimated $27 million impact on earnings.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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