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What Investors Should Watch When Hasbro Inc. Reports Q4 Earnings on Monday

By Beth McKenna – Feb 4, 2016 at 8:00AM

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From classic toy franchises to major blockbusters, the company enjoyed strong momentum closing out 2015.

Image source: Hasbro.

Game time's approaching! Hasbro (HAS -2.36%) reports its fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 results before the market opens on Monday, Feb. 8.

Investors in the leading toy and game maker were richly rewarded in 2015: The stock returned over 25%, including dividends, which made the S&P 500 and rival Mattel's total returns of 1.4% and negative 6.7%, respectively, look like child's play. Hasbro also monopolizes the long-term game, with a 10-year total return through 2015 of 350%, far outpacing Mattel at 164%.

Here's what investors should expect in Hasbro's upcoming report.

The headline numbers
Results from the previous period can be seen below:

Q4 2014 Revenue $1.30 billion                     
Full-year 2014 Revenue $4.28 billion
Q4 2014 Adjusted EPS $1.22
Full-year 2014 Adjusted EPS $3.15

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Long-term investors shouldn't pay too much attention to analysts' quarterly earnings estimates, since Wall Street is notoriously short-term oriented. That said, it's still worth noting that Hasbro has beaten earnings expectations in the first three quarters of 2015. This should bode well for a strong finish to the year, especially given how phenomenally successful Disney's (DIS -2.31%) Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been at the box office.

Expect continued currency headwinds
The strong U.S. dollar has hurt the revenue growth of U.S. companies like Hasbro that do a significant amount of international business. The currency impact flows through to the critical bottom line as well.

Investors should continue to look at revenue growth on a constant currency basis to gauge how well Hasbro's underlying business is performing. While Hasbro's top line year-over-year revenue growth for the first nine months of 2015 was flat, its revenue grew 9% absent currency effects.

The Force Awakens' impact should be powerful

Image source: Hasbro.

Star Wars-related items flew off retailers' shelves over the holiday season due to the excitement surrounding the theatrical release of The Force Awakens in mid-December. Movie-based toys were among the best-selling items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to retailers and industry trackers. Star Wars action figures and lightsabers were especially popular.

Hasbro, which holds a license from Disney to produce Star Wars-themed toys, benefited early from the fan mania, rolling out its initial toy lineup to retailers in September. However, investors should see a larger impact in the fourth quarter, since the toys were available for the full quarter and holiday season.

Franchise and partner brands should power preschool and boys categories 
Growth in the preschool and boys categories has been fueling 2015 results, and we can probably expect more of the same. The girls category continues to be weak, but I suspect that has a lot to do with how Hasbro categorizes its offerings.

On a constant currency basis, first nine-month revenue growth was 9%. Data source: Hasbro Q3 earnings presentation.

Franchise brands that have shown particular strength include Monopoly, Nerf, and Play-Doh, which enjoyed steady revenue growth throughout the year. Likewise, partner brands like Star Wars, Jurassic World, Marvel, and Disney Descendants showed similar strength.

As you can see, Hasbro sports close ties with Disney: Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney Descendants are all owned by The House of Mouse.

Playing the long game 
As always, long-term investors shouldn't get too hung up on a single quarterly report. It's best to use a wider time horizon when viewing results, and it's even better to gauge how well a company is setting itself up for the long haul.

Hasbro's done a solid job through the first three quarters of 2015 leveraging its iconic brands and has some significant catalysts for growth. On the near-term horizon, the global rights to develop dolls based on Disney Princess characters and the immensely popular Frozen film transitioned from Mattel to Hasbro on Jan. 1. We'll see a new source of revenue and earnings kick in when Hasbro reports first-quarter 2016 results.

On the longer-term horizon, Star Wars mania is far from over as Disney has several additional films in the pipeline that will fuel even greater demand for Hasbro toys and games.

Beth McKenna has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Hasbro and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Hasbro, Inc. Stock Quote
Hasbro, Inc.
HAS
$69.44 (-2.36%) $-1.68
The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
DIS
$95.85 (-2.31%) $-2.27
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$3,647.29 (-0.21%) $-7.75
Mattel, Inc. Stock Quote
Mattel, Inc.
MAT
$19.41 (-1.52%) $0.30

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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