Star Wars toys awaken Hasbro sales

Hasbro’s overall revenue rose 13% to nearly $1.5 billion

Hasbro, the toymaker behind My Little Pony, reported it strongest revenue in nearly 5 years, fuelled by strong demand for Star Wars-licensed toys.

Hollywood franchises such as Star Wars, Jurassic World and Marvel blockbusters have prompted a 35 per cent sales increase in the company’s toys targeted at boys, which accounts for about 40 percent of the toymaker's total revenue. 

Hasbro’s overall revenue rose 13 per cent to nearly $1.5 billion.

Brian Goldner, Hasbro chairman, president and CEO, said the sales are expected to growth further as Hasbro releases new products in 2016.

Hasbro hopes Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will push sales up even further on its release in December.

The final quarter of the year was a big one for Hasbro and its rival, Mattel, which reported revived sales of Barbie after several years of declines.

Industry-wide sales of Star Wars-licensed merchandise totalled about $700 million in the US in 2015, according to research firm NPD Group.

But Hasbro still has a tough time winning over girls. Toys in this category fell to 17 per cent from more than 20 per cent due to a weak demand for its owl-like robot Furby and “modest initial shipments” for Disney Princess and Disney Frozen merchandise.

Mattel lost the lucrative contract for the dolls, based on Disney films such as Frozen and Cinderella, to Hasbro in 2014.

The net income attributable to Hasbro rose 3.4 per cent to $175.8 million, or $1.39 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.30 per share. 

The results come days after reports that Hasbro and Mattel were in talks about a merger. The toymakers have so far declined to comment.

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