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This morning, Brian Goldner, Hasbro's President and Chief Executive Officer; and Deb Thomas, Hasbro's CFO, will review our first quarter financial results and discuss important factors impacting our performance. Following their statements, David Hargreaves, Hasbro's Chief Operating Officer, will join Brian and Deb to field your questions.Before we begin, please note that during this call and the question-and-answer session that follows, members of Hasbro management may make forward-looking statements concerning management's expectations, goals, objectives and similar matters. These forward-looking statements may include comments concerning our product and entertainment plans, anticipated product performance, business opportunities, plans and strategies, costs, financial goals, targets and expectations for our future financial performance, including expectations for revenues and earnings per share in 2012, as well as achieving our objectives. There are many factors that could cause actual results and experience to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements. Some of those factors are set forth in our annual report on Form 10-K, in today's press release and in our other public disclosures. You should review such factors together with any forward-looking statements made on today's call. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made today to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this call. Now I would like to introduce Brian Goldner. Brian? Brian D. Goldner Thank you, Debbie. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. At our Investor Day in November 2011, as well as our Toy Fair meeting following Q4 earnings in February, we communicated our plan for 2012, which called for a greater percentage of our business to come later in the year as we better aligned our shipments with the timing of consumer demand on a global basis. Our first quarter results are consistent with the execution of this plan, and we continue to believe that we are on track to deliver revenues and earnings per share growth absent the impact of foreign exchange for the full year 2012. We experienced point-of-sale growth versus the first quarter 2011 in both the U.S. and major international markets. And according to NPD, through the first quarter 2012, we gained share in the U.S. and Europe.
Let me share some of the highlights of the first quarter. The momentum in our International business has continued, and we posted growth in every major geographic region during the quarter. We grew shipments in the Boys and Games product categories, and we are experiencing positive point-of-sale trends in the major markets where we receive data. In the U.S. and Canada, we are making progress toward our plan to return the business to historical operating profit margin levels versus 2011 results. We reduced our headcount and right sized the business during the first quarter.We are also working with our retailers to better align the timing of our shipments with the timing of consumer demand that comes later in the year. Finally, we are aggressively increasing our media spend this year versus 2011 as we shift more dollars towards selling innovative Hasbro product lines to consumers. So far, we're seeing good results. Point-of-sale was up in the quarter 6%, and our retail inventories are down 20%. From a product category standpoint company-wide, our Boys and Preschool category shipments grew in the quarter. In the Boys category, demand was driven by entertainment properties from Marvel and Star Wars as well as KRE-O, which we did not have revenue for last year. An encouraging sign is that Beyblade has continued to be strong in many markets, with strong point-of-sale growth in several countries including the U.S., Canada and Germany and net revenues in terms of shipments flat with last year. As 2012 was a non-movie year, it's not surprising that Transformers was down in the Boys category. However, although early in the year, the brand is flat with last year on an overall brand revenue standpoint with new initiatives including Transformers Rescue Bots and Bot Shots contributing to the Preschool and Games categories. Additionally, licensing revenue for Transformers grew year-over-year. Point-of-sale trends for Transformers were up in many countries, including the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany and Mexico. We're also seeing good early success with Transformers Prime as television is now airing in more than 160 countries.
The Boys category will benefit from the launch of 4 major motion pictures in the coming months to global audiences. In partnership with Universal, Battleship is off to a great early start. The film recently launched in more than 50 international territories, and while we're still awaiting final numbers, we are very pleased that in just 12 days, the film has grossed more than $100 million in international box office revenue.Marvel has 2 tremendous films this year: The Avengers from Marvel opens May 4, and The Amazing Spider-Man from Marvel and Sony opens July 3. Both brands are being supported with television animation, and we have strong lines for both properties. Finally, in partnership with Paramount, we're excited for the return of G.I. Joe to the big screen in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, coming to theaters on June 29. In Preschool, Sesame Street contributed to the year-over-year gains as did Playskool Heroes, with Transformers Rescue Bots leading Playskool Heroes' growth. While the Girls and Games categories were down in the quarter, My Little Pony posted positive shipments for Hasbro and positive point-of-sale growth in several countries, including the U.S., U.K., France and Spain. My Little Pony television programming is currently airing in these countries, as well as in more than 160 countries worldwide. We also launched Dizzy Dancers, which is part of our FurReal Friends line in the first quarter, and this is off to a good start in early markets like the U.S. and Australia. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com