Toy maker Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) reported third-quarter earnings this morning that came in ahead of Wall Street's expectations. The company saw quarterly sales grow by 6% globally, as each region of its business kicked in higher revenue. Overall, profit improved by 16%, to $1.21 a share.

Removing a tax benefit of $0.05 per share, earnings were $1.16 per share. Analysts had predicted earnings of $1.11 per share. Last year's third quarter notched $1.04 per share. Revenue for the El Segundo, Calif., company rose 6% to $2.21 billion from $2.08 billion. Wall Street expected $2.175 billion in revenue.

Mattel benefited from a 3% boost in Barbie sales, one of the company's biggest brands. That growth reversed the 12% dip in the brand that Mattel booked in the prior quarter. The company also saw strong sales of its American Girl brand, which grew by 20% this quarter and offset weaker results from its Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price products.

Looking ahead to the critical holiday shopping season, CEO Bryan Stockton sounded an optimistic note, saying, "[W]e have a strong lineup of innovative products, promotions and content, and we will continue to focus on execution to deliver growth and long-term shareholder value."

Mattel also announced that it repurchased 6.1 million of its own shares during the third quarter at a cost of approximately $259 million, and plans to pay its fourth-quarter dividend of $0.36 a share on Dec 13. That's the same dividend the company paid last quarter and works out to an annual payment of $1.44, yielding about 3.5% on yesterday's closing price.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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