Revenue rose 16% to $1.3 billion, while earnings were up 24% to $133.7 million, or $0.84 a share. Analysts had predicted $0.81 in earnings on revenue of $1.22 billion.
Hasbro relied heavily on international sales, however. While domestic revenue rose 8% in the quarter, operating profits in North America fell 22% from the year before, even with the push they got from tie-ins to the Transformers movie. It was the 29% increase in international sales and 40% rise in profits that allowed the Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation to play as well as it did.
Despite the bad reputation from a seemingly never-ending series of recalls, Mattel said its domestic revenue fell only 3% in the fourth quarter. It reported an 18% jump in international sales, but half of that was as a result of favorable currency exchange rates.
Smaller rival JAKKS Pacific
Costs might also weigh on Hasbro's performance in this new fiscal year. Cost of sales rose 21% last year, and it says price increases are on the way this year to offset price increases for raw materials. Margins suffered in the fourth quarter, and management wants to keep them from slipping further. Yet higher prices in a market where consumers are already showing restraint might not be the best endgame for Hasbro.
With a series of animated shows coming out based on the Transformers, Marvel's
Hasbro is also toying with the buyback of shares, finished up its purchase of game maker Cranium, and just reported it will get a new CEO because Al Verrecchia will become chairman. As good as a lot of this sounds, it won't be all fun and games if the economy continues to worsen.
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Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Disney but does not have a financial position in any of the other stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.