Now I would like to turn the call over to Bob.Bob Eckert Thank you, Dianne. And good morning, everyone. What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time, Mattel, along with many other consumer goods companies and retailers, was lamenting how much further the economy was going to decline. And while reports remain mixed on whether or not we are out of the woods, I can tell you that I’m very pleased with the company’s performance for the quarter with worldwide net sales up 13%, reflecting good performance in the US as well as internationally, and continued improvement in our profit margins. Our positive top-line sales trend in this quarter in both the US and abroad benefited from our newest entertainment properties, Toy Story 3, World Wrestling Entertainment, and Thomas and Friends, as well as solid growth from core brands such as Barbie and Hot Wheels. As it relates to Barbie, the core fashion, beach and accessory product lines continue to perform well. In our spring entertainment offering, Barbie in Mermaid Tale nicely outperformed last year’s movie. Our I Can Be line, driven by a very strong spring promotional program, continues to perform well at retail. And I’m proud to report that the Barbie leadership team hasn’t missed a beat and is continuing to drive the brand to deliver on fashion, aspiration and cultural relevance. I know there is a lot of interest in the watch of our Monster High franchise, which has just begun. We know girls are becoming engaged with the brand as evidenced by the millions of Monster High episodes downloaded in the website. The Justice apparel program is just rolling out to more than 900 stores nationwide, and the Monsters will be taking over YouTube’s home page this summer with an all new Monster High music video.
Toy advertising begins around the back-to-school timeframe, which also coincides with sales of the first Little, Brown hardback chapter book, which hits retail in September. In the Wheels item, Hot Wheels performance has been solid, driven by both core play with basic tires and track sets, as well as the feature product lines like Custom Motors and Color Shifters.And we are excited about the Matchbox launch and Stinky the Garbage Truck, following on the successful launch of Rocky the Robot Truck last year. These characters are now part of the new Big Rig Buddies line, which we are introducing to kids this fall via CGI animated episodes being packed with the products. And of course, there is the incredible success of this year’s summer movie, Toy Story 3. Not surprisingly, our Toy Story 3 lines are selling well across all businesses, including infant and preschool, action figures, collectibles, play sets, vehicles, roll play, Barbie and Ken dolls and games. And now that Spain has taken home the World Cup title, the movie will be hitting theaters in the European markets. The World Wrestling, WWE sales continue to be strong, driven not only by our core line that appeals to collectors, but by the Flexforce toys, which are more kid-focused and feature driven. As I said before, what’s most exciting about our newest license properties is that we expect them to perform more akin to evergreen toy brands than one hit wonders, which charter well for our business not only in 2010, but beyond. In the infant and preschool, our Fisher-Price Friends business performed quite well, with Dora the Explorer rebounding nicely, and of course the addition of Thomas and Friends. We are also looking forward to Dora’s ten-year anniversary, which Nickelodeon is kicking off this fall. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com