Iconic toy brands fueled a big year for Mattel as the company managed to grow sales and revenue despite global supply chain challenges.
The company announced its fourth quarter and full year 2021 results, reflecting net sales of $5.46 billion for the year – a 19% increase – of which $1.8 billion arrived during the fourth trimester. Sales success was accompanied by improvements in operating profit and net profit for the year, although gross margin suffered a slight hit due to inflation and supply chain issues, partially offset by price changes.
“We have made significant progress in our transformation strategy over the past few years, and our turnaround is now complete,” said Ynon Kreiz, Chairman and CEO of Mattel. “We are in growth mode and believe we are well positioned to build on our momentum, with guidance for 2022 exceeding previous targets and an even stronger outlook for 2023.”
In toys, Mattel’s net sales and gross billings were up 22% for the year in North America. Meanwhile, global growth was fueled by increases in Gross Billings across its major categories.
Gross billings for combo action figures, building sets, games and other categories increased 32%, driven by action figures – including Masters of the Universe, WWE and Jurassic World – plush and building sets from MEGA Bloks and MEGA Construx. The dolls category grew 22% year-on-year, driven by demand for Barbie, Spirit and Polly Pocket, while vehicles climbed 13%, driven mainly by strong growth in Hot Wheels and Matchbox. Finally, gross billings for the infants, toddlers and preschoolers category increased 6% with increased demand for Fisher-Price, Thomas & Friends and Power Wheels products.
While it fell 6% in the fourth quarter against strong competition from 2020, the American Girl brand ended the year with a 5% gain in net sales and a 4% increase in gross billings.
“In 2021, our products resonated with consumers at levels we haven’t seen in years and, according to The NPD Group, we continued to gain market share,” says Kreiz. “We have also strengthened our position as the partner of choice for major entertainment companies and, in addition to our own intellectual property, we have a tremendous portfolio of evergreen properties to drive future growth.”
Looking ahead, the company raised its guidance for 2022 anticipating an 8-10% increase in net sales, and raised its guidance for 2023 with high single-digit net sales gains expected.
On February 18, Mattel will hold its scheduled virtual analyst presentation for what would have been the start of Toy Fair New York, which was canceled for the second year in a row due to pandemic-related challenges.