Mattel's Tumble Signals Timeout for Barbie

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Toy maker Mattel Inc. ( MAT) shares fell the most in fifteen months after U.S. sales declined in the second-quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

The El Segundo-based company lost 6.8% to $43.16, declining for the third consecutive day and paring its 2013 advance to 18%.

International revenue rose 4% but were offset by a 2% drop in U.S. sales as brands led by Barbie, Hot Wheels and Tyco R/C regressed. Mattel's American Girl was a bright spot, growing 14% growth and delivering $78.2 million of this quarter's $792.4 million of gross sales.

"It's a small quarter... about half of that decline was linked to a shift in promotional events," said Monness, Crespi, Hardt and Co analyst Jim Chartier, adding that the late-winter months hold few events or holidays that might propel sales.

Mattel has a 'buy' rating or its equivalent from 10 equity analysts compared to six that rate the shares as 'hold' or 'neutral.' "Summer tends to be a period of underperformance as estimates are in motion, results are somewhat insignificant to the year, and visibility into bookings and consumer response to new product initiatives is only starting to grow," wrote Piper Jaffray analysts in a report led by Stephanie S. Wissink.

Mattel's gross margin remained flat while operating income fell to $94.8 million, compared to $131.4 million last year. Mattel spent $119 million buying back 2.7 million shares in the second quarter.

"While we delivered another quarter of sales growth and strong gross margins, lower profits in the second quarter reflect an asset impairment charge and strategic investments made to support consistent future growth," said Mattel Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bryan G. Stockton in a statement.

The Board of Directors announced a third quarter dividend of $0.36 per common share. The dividend will be payable on September 20th, 2013.

-- Written by Robert Arenella in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Robert Arenella.

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