Don't even talk to Hasbro's (HAS) always energetic CEO Brian Goldner about Star Wars toy fatigue.
"I remain totally bullish on Star Wars," Goldner told TheStreet Monday at Hasbro's annual toy exhibition. It's difficult to not pose the question on whether kids are Star Wars-toyed out after three movie releases from Disney (DIS) in as many years.
Sales in Hasbro's lucrative partner brands segment, which includes toys tied to popular movie franchises such as Star Wars and Frozen, fell 10% in 2017 from the prior year to $1.27 billion. The business represented about 25% of Hasbro's 2017 sales.
The main culprit in the drop were below plan sales of Star Wars toys.
Pointed out Goldner on a conference call with analysts, "And really I don't see it as at all as Star Wars fatigue, I think the entertainment has been quite good." Goldner added that there was significant pent up demand in 2015 and 2016 following the franchise's almost seven-year hiatus. So, it's logical to see sales cool a bit as Star Wars fans get used to more frequent movie releases.
To minimize risk going forward, Hasbro will release its Star Wars toy inventory closer to a movie release. For example, the latest Star Wars toys will start hitting retailers in April ahead of the May 25 release of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Investors may want to keep in mind that Hasbro is firing on all cylinders elsewhere in its vast portfolio.
Sales in its franchise segment, which includes brands such as Nerf and Monopoly, rose 10% to $2.6 billion in 2017. Judging by what TheStreet saw at Hasbro's toy exhibition, notably in the gaming and Nerf categories, investors may want to look beyond potential Star Wars fatigue. Goldner is also bullish on Hasbro's involvement with Netflix (NFLX) to develop toys related to the streaming giant's various properties.