Barbie is getting a big boost from the coronavirus pandemic.
Sales of the iconic, 62-year-old doll surged 29 percent in the most recent quarter, notching their best performance in at least two decades, according to Mattel.
The El Segundo, Calif.-based toy giant said late Thursday that fierce demand for Barbies through summer’s end helped fueled a hefty 10-percent increase in overall revenues to $1.6 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30.
Mattel shares on Friday rose 9.6 percent to $14.15.
Sales of toys have been one of the bright spots in an otherwise bleak retail landscape during the pandemic as parents look for ways to entertain their home-bound children and to get them off screens, say experts.
Mattel said its vehicles business, led by Hot Wheels, surged 6 percent during the quarter. Games, action figures and building sets were up 14 percent, boosted by the “Baby Yoda” plush doll.
Toy consultant Richard Gottlieb believes the surge in Barbie sales is driven by moms whose opinions of Barbie have changed for the better. Over the past several years, Mattel has rolled out a series of new Barbie dolls reflecting various body types and skin tones as well as non-gender specific dolls.
“We have a new generation of moms who are not hung up on Barbie stereotypes,” Gottlieb added, and Mattel has changed the doll’s image from “being this over the top, impossible figure and lifestyle.”
Earlier this year, retailers were left with a glut of toys after a disappointing holiday season, crimping Mattel’s sales. But they have finally sold through the surplus amid lockdown-driven demand, and have begun placing more orders, according to DA Davidson analyst Linda Bolton Weiser.
Barbie sales spiked recently because of the “Barbie Princess” movie that came out on Netflix in September, and recently sales of Barbie at stores were up by 50 percent, Weiser said.
“Mattel didn’t even ship enough Barbie to stores,” she said.
Mattel said earnings during the quarter surged to $316 million, or 91 cents a share.
“This was a very strong quarter for Mattel,” chief executive Ynon Kreiz said in a statement. “Mattel’s growth outpaced the industry as we gained share in key markets around the world and achieved growth in each of our four regions.”
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