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In a tough year for toys, Mattel has played a good game

Melina, 5, watches as her mother braids the hair of a Barbie. Mattell, maker of Barbie, is having a great year.

Mattel reports third quarter earnings today. Industry analysts say toy sales overall this year could have been better -- about $700 million dollars better. Mattel, the world’s largest toy maker, is faring better than its competitors in a market that’s still pretty flat.

Chris Byrne with TimeToPlayMag.com says for one thing, it’s not been a great year for toys based on kids’ movies. “The second reason is that it was a terrible spring and summer season, and a lot of merchandise didn’t sell,” Byrne adds. 

But Mattel’s business is growing both in the U.S. and abroad thanks to core brands like Barbie and Fisher Price. “They have one of strongest line-ups of great licensed brands, like Sofia the First and Disney Princesses,” adds Laurie Schacht, co-publisher of The Toy Insider.

With new facial tracking technology that turns an iPad into a Barbie Makeover Mirror, Schacht says Mattel is also one of a few companies that have finally figured out how to make higher tech toys. “It was really last year and the year before when we started seeing toys that were using devices, but they just weren’t great and now they’re getting fabulous.”

Just in time for the holidays…

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