May the toys be with you: pandemic demand plays into Hasbro's hands

(Reuters) – Demand for Hasbro toys linked to “Star Wars” and “The Mandalorian” helped it beat fourth-quarter revenue and profit estimates on Monday as families turned to games during the pandemic-hit holiday season.

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Shares rose 4% in premarket trading after the toymaker also reported a 43% jump in annual online revenue to over $1 billion.

Parents have been spending more on toys to keep their children occupied due to limited vacation options and as U.S. schools hold classes online, boosting sales for Hasbro and rival Mattel Inc during the crucial holiday period.

Revenue from Hasbro’s gaming unit, which houses brands such as “Jenga” and “Scrabble,” rose 21% in the quarter, while franchise brands, its biggest segment, that includes collectible cards game “Magic: The Gathering”, rose 7%.

“Global point of sale increased last year, despite lockdowns and retail disruption, and 2021 is starting with strong year-over-year momentum,” Chief Financial Officer Deborah Thomas said in a statement.

Buoyed by the strong quarter, Hasbro plans to launch toy and game lines for its preschool brands Peppa Pig and PJ Masks later this year.

The Play-Doh maker’s net revenue rose about 21% to $1.72 billion in the three months ended Dec. 27, beating estimates of $1.69 billion, according to a Refinitiv IBES estimate.

Net earnings attributable to Hasbro, however, fell to $105.2 million, or 76 cents per share, from $267.3 million, or $2.01 per share, a year earlier.

The company incurred $34.7 million in charges related to its purchase of Entertainment One, the firm behind Peppa Pig, while selling, distribution and administration costs also rose.

Excluding items, Hasbro earned $1.27 per share, topping estimates of $1.14.

Mattel is set to report its quarterly results on Tuesday.

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