When I was a kid, I collected Garbage Pail Kids cards. A quick peek on eBay
Still, in the midst of an aggressive turnaround attempting to reverse declining sales in the confectionery and sports-cards market, the company has high hopes that the 2007 fiscal year will finally save its bacon. Given the fact that it fought off Pembridge Capital last year, you could say the company has a bit of a chip on its shoulder, and has something to prove this year. That said, results this quarter were mixed -- revenues increased 9.9% to $82.3 million, but net income declined 30% year over year to $3.4 million, including some one-time charges.
Topps managed to grow its card business 30% last quarter, which I was expecting. After all, the company "convinced" Major League Baseball to cut the number of licensees from four to two last year, and the year before that, football licensees shrank from four to three. This tells me two things: Barring a major mistake, Topps is going to grow its entertainment business just because of market share gains; and the sports-card market must really stink for these other licensees to walk away from the business.
Its confectionery business is not doing so well either. After a failed attempt to sell the division in 2005, Topps ended up stuck with the Bazooka Joe line, and to its credit, is trying to make a go of it. The supposedly revolutionary Vertigo lollipop has been moved up to November 2006 from a January 2007 launch, in a bit of a desperate effort to salvage the poor performance so far in what was supposed to be a banner fiscal 2007 for the candy business. Industry leaders like Cadbury Schweppes
Keep in mind that in 2001, profits were $28.4 million or $0.66 a share, and sales were $296 million. Expected sales for 2007 are expected to come in at $309 million, and profits about $10 million. That is one ugly long-term picture, and shows just how far Topps has to go to get back to some semblance of strength. In sports terms, Topps is facing off against Randy Johnson, and already has two strikes against it. I'm betting this one strikes out.
More nostalgia-inducing Foolishess: