Hasbro posted its third-quarter report this morning, one trading day after Mattel went over its financial results. Once again, Hasbro is holding up better during the economic downturn.
Revenue at Hasbro fell by 2% to $1.28 billion during the quarter, though it would have been marginally positive if we back out the impact of foreign currency translations. Mattel sold more toys -- with revenue clocking in at $1.79 billion -- but that's 8% lower than Mattel's year-ago sales figures.
Each company had its workhorses. At Mattel, positive performances out of its Hot Wheels and American Girl lines helped keep the slide in check. Where art thou, Barbie? Hasbro's savior was the entertainment and licensing revenue generated from the cinematic summer treatments of its G.I. Joe and Transformers franchises. Net revenue beyond that actually fell by 4% globally at Hasbro.
The disparity between Mattel and Hasbro becomes clearer when we race down to the bottom line. Hasbro earnings rose 11% to $0.99 a share. Admittedly, that excludes startup costs related to its joint venture with Discovery Communications
Mattel, on the other hand, posted a profit of $0.63 a share. It earned $0.65 a share during last year's third quarter.
Hasbro was able to overcome flattish top-line results to deliver income growth. It got a welcome boost from widening margins and an ambitious stock repurchase program, which meant that net income was divided among fewer shares than there were a year ago.
It may be a bit premature to cast Hasbro as the next Marvel
It's also important to put Mattel's defeat in context. Analysts still see smaller toymakers LeapFrog
However, since both Hasbro and Mattel are trading at about 14 times next year's projected earnings, why wouldn't investors to choose to play with Hasbro over Mattel? It's not as if Barbie will be the star of an action-packed summer blockbuster next year.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wonders who will have the hot toys for the 2009 holiday season. Too soon? He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy is harmful only if it's not swallowed.