Hasbro Inc posted revenue that fell short of Wall Street expectations on Monday as weakness in brands like Monopoly and Strawberry Shortcake offset strong sales of boys' toys tied to the G.I. Joe and Transformers movies.
Shares in the No. 2 toymaker behind Mattel Inc fell 3.4 percent as the company said it was taking a cautious approach to the 2009 holiday season and sought to temper investor expectations about the potential of future movies.
When you become overly reliant on movie properties, your business becomes lumpy, much less predictable and much more uncertain, said BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson, who has an underperform rating on the shares.
Hasbro will have toys tied to the 2010 releases of Iron Man 2 and Toy Story 3 and the 2011 releases of Stretch Armstrong, Spider-Man 4, Transformers 3, The First Avenger: Captain America and a movie based on the board game Battleship.
Hasbro's third-quarter net profit rose to $150.4 million, or 99 cents a share, from $138.2 million, or 89 cents a share, a year earlier. Net revenue was $1.28 billion, down from $1.30 billion a year earlier.
Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 93 cents a share, on revenue of $1.32 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales in Hasbro's boys' unit rose 12 percent in the third quarter, fueled by toys tied to movies such as Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe - The Rise of the Cobra.
Yet sales fell 6 percent in its girls' business, which includes My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake, and 10 percent in the games and puzzles business, which includes classics like Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit.
Hasbro sees its full-year revenue rising if sales trends continue to improve in line with the current quarter and expects earnings to grow this year. Last week, Mattel cited hopes for improved holiday sales, sending its shares up.
The company reported declines in revenue and operating profit for its U.S. and Canada and international segments. In its much-smaller entertainment and licensing segment, revenue more than doubled and operating profit more than tripled, due to gains in Transformers and G.I. Joe.
Hasbro Chief Executive Brian Goldner said the company expects 2009 revenue from G.I. Joe to exceed $100 million. He added that retailers' expectations for the brand had been quite high and that Hasbro needs to better manage expectations.
Going forward we need to do a better job of setting our expectations for future movie properties, Goldner said. I don't think we can expect every motion picture we put out to be Transformers.
He declined to forecast sales for Transformers, which saw $484 million in revenue in 2007 when the first movie came out, except to say it is performing exceedingly well. The DVD will launch on Tuesday.
Chief Operating Officer David Hargreaves said new developments -- such as the Transformers DVD, a new G.I. Joe television show and a Monopoly promotion -- would drive sales during the key fourth quarter. Still, he said retailers are planning in a way that is cautiously optimistic.
Both Mattel and Hasbro still face price pressure as key retailers Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Target Corp have already begun offering steep discounts to woo shoppers ahead of the all-important holiday season.
Toys R Us is even offering an in-store lay-away plan that allows customers to reserve large toys, such as bicycles and play kitchens, early in the season and make a series of small payments over time.
Hasbro shares fell $1.00 to $28.52 on the New York Stock Exchange. Mattel slipped 1.2 percent to $20.22 in early afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Derek Caney and Gunna Dickson)