The toy industry has been hit hard as both Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) and Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) saw poor earnings reported in their most recent quarterly reports. Shares of Hasbro actually traded up after the earnings report, and currently sit just below 52-week highs. Rival Mattel saw shares tumble double digits, setting new 52-week lows. With shares now yielding 4% and trading at low valuations, Mattel is worth a look for your portfolio.
The shares took a beating with poor fourth quarter results. In the fourth quarter, net sales were down 6%. In North America, sales fell 10% in the quarter, while international sales remained flat. Key brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Fisher-Price saw sales declines of 13%, 8%, and 13% respective. American Girl sales were one of the few bright spots, with sales up 3%.
Despite the poor quarter, net sales did increase 1% on the full fiscal year. North American sales grew 2%, while international sales increased 5%. American Girl led the way with a full-year sales increase of 11%. Other key brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Fisher-Price did see full-year sales declines. In the fourth quarter, the bright spots were Russia, which tripled sales, and China, which saw double-digit sales increases.
Mattel continues to reward shareholders through share buybacks and dividends. This will be no different going forward, and is a key reason why investors should consider going long this toy maker. In the last fiscal year, Mattel bought 11 million shares of its own stock at a cost of $469 million. Mattel also raised its dividend 5.5% to a quarterly amount of $0.36. With shares trading at around $36, dividend yield is now above 4%. This is higher than rival Hasbro, and provides a nice cushion for Mattel as it tries to increase sales of its falling brands like Hot Wheels and Barbie.
One area that might help Mattel going forward is entertainment. Hasbro has had success with its film division that saw its Transformers toys hit the big screen. Hasbro also has a joint venture television show called "The Hub" with Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA). Mattel announced last fall that it created Playground Productions to expand its entertainment offerings. The first big offering will be "Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome". Mattel will see 12 episodes and a direct-to-video release of the Hot Wheels brand, which could dramatically boost sales of the toy car line.
"Max Steel" will also get the big screen treatment and could turn that Mattel property into a hot toy seller over the next couple of years. Mattel also acquired Hit Entertainment, which gives it rights to Bob the Builder, Barney, and Thomas the Tank Engine toys and entertainment properties. Mattel could be on the right track with its new entertainment venture, and could see the same success Hasbro had.
Over the last 52 weeks, shares of Mattel have traded between $35.85 and $48.48. With shares sitting around $36 at the time of writing, there appears to be some upside with this toy maker and many potential positive catalysts. In the short 2014 period, shares of Mattel are down over 22%. Mattel ended the year with over $1 billion in cash, leaving room for more share buybacks and dividends going forward. The company's movie efforts and potential acquisitions should also not go unnoticed. Catch this iconic toy maker at its bottom before it's too late.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in HAS, MAT over the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.