Melina, 5, watches as her mother braids the hair of a Barbie. Mattell, maker of Barbie, is having a great year.
Melina, 5, watches as her mother braids the hair of a Barbie. Mattell, maker of Barbie, is having a great year. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

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…

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.