Star Wars powers Hasbro’s strongest growth in nearly 5 years

Hasbro reported its biggest jump in quarterly revenue in nearly five years, beating analysts’ estimates by a wide margin, driven by demand for toys based on the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Jurassic World” movies.

Revenue from toys targeted at boys, which include action figures based on the two blockbuster films released last year, surged 35 percent to $569.8 million in the fourth quarter.

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

Hasbro Star Wars toy

Source: Hasbro
Hasbro Star Wars toy

Larger rival Mattel Inc reported a surprise rise in quarterly net sales this month as sales of Barbie dolls recovered and demand rose for Hot Wheels toys, driven by Star-Wars-licensed items such as the “Millennium Falcon Starship.”

Hasbro’s revenue from its games category, which includes Monopoly board games, increased 11 percent after two straight quarters of decline. The revenue decline in the company’s toys for girls category slowed to 17 percent from more than 20 percent in the prior two quarters.

Mattel and Hasbro have held talks about a possible merger, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Both companies have declined to comment on the report.

The net income attributable to Hasbro rose 3.4 percent to $175.8 million, or $1.39 per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 27.

Net revenue rose 12.8 percent to $1.47 billion. Excluding the impact of a strong dollar, revenue surged 23 percent.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.30 per share and revenue of $1.37 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Hasbro also raised its quarterly dividend to 51 cents per share from 46 cents.

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