Certain statements made during the call may include forward-looking statements related to the future performance of our overall business, brands and product lines. These statements are based on currently available information. They are subject to a number of significant risks and uncertainties which could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. We describe some of these uncertainties in the Risk Factors section of our 2011 annual report on Form 10-K and our 2012 quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and in other filings we make with the SEC from time to time, as well as in other public statements. Mattel does not update forward-looking statements and expressly disclaims any obligation to do so.
Now I'd like to turn the call over to Bryan.
Bryan G. Stockton
Thank you, Drew, and good day, everyone. Looking at our second quarter results, we executed well and delivered solid performance despite the backdrop of a very challenging global economic climate that's driving volatility in input costs and currencies, as well as creating a very cautious global retail environment. Additionally, we faced a difficult sales comparison with the release of the Cars 2 movie last year. We met the challenge of delivering a comparable level of sales by focusing on our priorities, including growing our core brands, evergreen entertainment properties, our most recent franchise, Monster High, and key international markets.For the first half of 2012, we experienced solid progress in core brands and markets. Overall shipments were up for the quarter, resulting in improved alignment of shipments, consumer takeaway and retail inventories for the first half. And I believe we are well positioned for the second half and the all-important holiday season. While we continue to absorb the impact of the strengthening U.S. dollar, our international business, including countries such as Brazil, Mexico, the U.K., China and India, is growing when you exclude the impact of currency.