Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) reported first quarter 2016 earnings this week. The toymaker posted record revenue and earnings, thanks largely to its increasing ties with Walt Disney. Hasbro stock has returned 35.6%, including dividends, during the one-year period through April 18, reflecting the company's strong business performance.
My purpose here isn't to rehash the earnings results -- you can read my coverage here -- but to supplement the earnings release with essential color from Hasbro's analyst conference call. Here are five key things you should know.
1. Six of the top 10 brands are franchise brands
From CEO Brian Goldner's remarks:
[I]f you take the top 10 brands [by revenue] of our company at this moment in the quarter, six of the top 10 brands of our company are franchise brands. And the top brand in our company still in the first quarter is Nerf . . . so the other four brands within the top 10 are partner brands.
Given the hype that surrounded the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it might be easy to forget that Hasbro is about much more than just its Star Wars licensing deal and other lucrative ties to Disney. Hasbro also has significant breadth and depth among its various franchise offerings, which are its key internal brands.
2. Franchise brand strength was greater than key results suggest
Hasbro's revenue for its franchise brands increased 1% year-over-year, or 4% on a constant currency basis. Some investors might infer from these numbers that franchise brands are struggling, but Goldner's remarks address why this isn't the case:
Overall franchise brand revenues grew in the quarter. In total, toy and game revenues for franchise brands increased 9% absent FX [foreign exchange], increasing 12% in the U.S. and Canada segment, and 6% in the international segment.
The first quarter had several unique and expected comparison challenges within the franchise brands, which don't change our positive outlook for the full year. Q1 was a tough comparison within the entertainment and licensing category.
The entertainment and licensing segment's year-over-year revenue decreased a whopping 30% due to a tough comparison that included a large, multi-year digital streaming deal recorded in the first quarter of 2015. Goldner stripped out the impact from this deal in his quote above, and 9% growth in franchise brands in constant currency is a solid result.
3. Star Wars 2016 revenue could be in line with its 2015 revenue
From Goldner's remarks:
Retail and consumer demand for Star Wars remained very high, and at this early stage of the year, we continue to believe 2016 revenues could be in line with last year. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was recently released in home entertainment, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is scheduled for release on December 16.
It's obviously great news that Hasbro continues to project that Star Wars toys could bring in about the same revenue in 2016 as they did last year. The company expects to release toys based on the stand-alone film Rogue One in the fall.
4. Economic challenges among select emerging market retailers
From CFO Deb Thomas' remarks:
During the quarter, we also took a $13.8 million bad debt provision for a potentially uncollectible receivable. This was the first significant provision taken since we began our expansion in 2008 into more international territories, notably emerging markets. Overall, we feel we have taken the appropriate risks and manage our higher-risk accounts very closely.
It's important to distinguish between consumers and select retailers here. Management said that the company continues to experience strong consumer demand for its products in the emerging markets. It projects that these markets will experience double-digit revenue growth on a constant currency basis in 2016.
A few retailers in the emerging markets, however, apparently ran into economic challenges, so Hasbro wrote off some revenue that management believed it would be unable to collect. The retailers involved are not its primary, larger customers. Management would not provide their geographic locations, other than to respond to an analyst's question by saying they're not located in Brazil.
5. Hasbro is gaining market share
From Goldner's remarks:
According to NPD [a global information company], through the first two months of the year, we continued to gain share in nearly every major market.
Hasbro is gaining market share, which means it's taking business from other toy companies. Goldner also stated elsewhere on the call that the company is benefiting from the robust toy market. That means the company's revenue growth is being driven by a combination of the toy market's expansion and Hasbro's growing market share. This is a great scenario.
If Hasbro's revenue were only expanding in line with the growth in the overall market, the company would likely be in for some trouble when the industry growth stalls, as it inevitably will at some point. It's a testament to management's strategy and execution that Hasbro is stealing market share from others in the industry.