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earned $176.4 million, or 49 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, a decline of 46% from a year earlier as sales dropped 11% because of the stronger dollar and the weakest holiday season in decades.

"Our business wasn't immune from the deteriorating economic environment of 2008," said Robert A. Eckert, chairman and CEO of Mattel. "In response, our focus for 2009 is on cost and spending reductions, and maintaining a strong balance sheet."

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In the year-earlier fourth quarter, the toy maker reported earnings of $328.5 million, or 89 cents a share.

Sales in the quarter were $1.94 billion, down from $2.19 billion last year. on a regional basis, fourth-quarter gross sales were down 6% in the U.S. and were down 20% in international markets.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, predicted a profit of 72 cents a share on revenue of $2.2 billion.

Barbie sales fell 21% and Hot Wheels sales fell 22%.

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