Mattel Posts Smaller Loss Than Expected

Net sales inched up 1%.
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Mattel

(MAT) - Get Report

, the struggling toy maker that has been in turmoil in recent months, reported Wednesday that its losses narrowed in the first quarter as the company beat Wall Street's estimates by 2 cents.

El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel said that excluding charges, continuing operations lost $6.2 million, or 1 cent a diluted share, compared with $12.6 million, or 3 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by

First Call/Thompson Financial

projected a loss of 3 cents a share.

Mattel said net sales inched up 1% to $693.3 million from $688.3 million a year earlier.

Mattel shares rose 1/4, or 2%, to 12 in midday trading. (Mattel closed down 1/16, or 0.5%, at 11 11/16.)

Earlier this month, Mattel, the world's largest toy maker, whose line of toy products include Barbie and Matchbox cars, said it would

sell its money-losing software maker,

Learning Co.

. The company said Wednesday that its software operations incurred an after-tax loss of $126.6 million, or 30 cents a share, in the first quarter on net revenue of $64.4 million.

Including charges and Learning Co. results, which it reported under discontinued operations, Mattel reported a net loss of $171.2 million, or 40 cents a diluted share, compared with a profit of $3.1 million, or 1 cent a share, a year earlier.

Mattel's senior management team has been

depleted by a string of departures in the last several months, including the resignation of its chief executive, Jill Barad.