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Barbie Sales Fall 11%

Mattel posts a flat fourth quarter and adds to its share repurchase.
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Mattel (MAT) - Get Mattel, Inc. Report posted a flat fourth quarter and added $250 million to its stock buyback plan.

The El Segundo, Calif., toymaker made $279 million, or 69 cents a share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with the year-ago $284 million, or 68 cents a share. The latest-quarter profit included an 11-cent-a-share tax benefit. Revenue fell to $1.84 billion from $1.85 billion a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for 49 cents in profit on $1.89 billion in sales.

"As I said throughout the year, 2005 proved to be a challenging year for Mattel as we continued to experience extensive cost pressures and sales declines in the Barbie brand, which offset much of the growth we experienced throughout our portfolio," said CEO Robert A. Eckert. "That said, we generated strong cash flow and the balance sheet remained healthy with approximately $1 billion of cash at year-end."

For the fourth quarter, worldwide gross sales for the Mattel Brands Girls and Boys business unit were $1.06 billion, down 6% vs. a year ago. Worldwide gross sales for the Barbie brand were down 11%. Worldwide gross sales for Other Girls Brands were up 23%. Worldwide gross sales for the Wheels category, which includes the Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tyco R/C brands, were down 7%. Worldwide gross sales for the Entertainment business, which includes Games and Puzzles, were down 13% for the quarter.

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Fourth-quarter worldwide gross sales for the Fisher-Price Brands business unit, which includes the Fisher-Price, Little People, Rescue Heroes and Power Wheels brands, were $694.8 million, up 6% due to strong international sales of Core Fisher-Price and worldwide sales of Fisher-Price Friends.

Fourth-quarter gross sales for the American Girl Brands business unit, which offers American Girl branded products direct to consumers, were $240.6 million, up 12%.