Earlier this month Mattel beat quarterly top-line expectations despite a 33% profit decline as Barbie sales spiked 14% .

Barbie sales had weakened in recent years, and Mattel had argued in court that it was, in part, because of the rising popularity of Bratz.

Rival Hasbro ( HAS) missed top- and bottom-line first-quarter expectations as costs rose and demand for its toys and games weakened in the period following the holiday shopping season.

Hasbro, the maker of Nerf toys, Monopoly board games and, as of this year, the licensor for Sesame Street, attributed its weaker performance to increased spending on product development, investments in emerging markets, and new initiatives related to the children's television network The Hub, which it launched last fall as a joint venture with Discovery Communications ( DISCA).

Toy sales are expected to strengthen in 2011 as toymakers bet on new plush toys, digital updates to old classics and the return of an iconic relationship.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer.

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