Barbie maker reports 46% profit fall

Toy manufacturer Mattel has said fourth quarter profit slumped 46 per cent as cash-strapped consumers cut spending on Barbie dolls over Christmas.

The US-based company reported net income of $176.4 million (£124.7 million) for the three months to 31 December, down from of $328.5 million (£232.2 million) in the fourth quarter last year against an 11 per cent drop in net sales to $1.94 billion (£1.37 billion).

Worldwide sales of the Barbie brand, in its 50th year, dipped 21 per cent, Hot Wheels cars sales dropped 22 per cent while Fisher-Price brands slid 9 per cent.

For the full year, net income fell to of $379.6 million (£268 million) against a 1 per cent drop in net sales.

Robert A. Eckert, chairman and chief executive officer of Mattel, says the company will focus on reducing costs and spending this year, adding “our business wasn’t immune from the deteriorating economic environment of 2008.”

Last July, Mattel won a case against rival MGA Entertainment over Bratz dolls. Mattel claimed that the name and design of the dolls was based on drawings its creator Carter Bryant had done while under contact to Mattel.

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