Financial Reports: Mattel, Grainger

Despite Strong American Girl Sales, 3Q Earnings Down at Mattel
EL Segundo, CA-based Mattel (NYSE: MAT) termed its third-quarter results “disappointing.” Earnings for the period fell 12%, to $225.3 million from $255.8 million last year. Net sales for the three months ended Sept. 30 were $1.67 billion, including benefits from currency exchange rates, flat with last year’s third-quarter sales,

The American Girl brand, which is sold via the eponymous catalogs, Website, and two destination stores, was a bright spot for the toy manufacturer. Third-quarter gross sales for American Girl increased 12%, to $69.1 million, primarily driven by the new American Girl Today doll and the stores.

In other company units, worldwide gross sales for Barbie were down 18%. Worldwide gross sales for the Wheels category, which includes the Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tyco R/C brands, were up 4%, primarily driven by Hot Wheels.

Worldwide gross sales for the Entertainment business were down 7% for the quarter, due to sales declines from Yu-Gi-Oh! and JuiceBox, though sales of Batman products were higher.

Third-quarter worldwide gross sales for the Fisher-Price Brands business Unit were $727.4 million, a 6% increase from last year.

Lab Safety Division Boosts Grainger’s 3Q
Lake Forest, IL-based Grainger (NYSE: GWW) reported a 10% increase in third-quarter sales, to $1.4 billion for the three months ended Sept 30. What’s more, the maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) supplies conglomerate, whose catalogs include Lab Safety Supplies, Gempler’s, and Ben Meadows, reported a 30% increase in net earnings, to $88.1 million.

Sales for the Lab Safety Supply division increased 13%, primarily from the AW Direct towing equipment catalog acquired in January and an increase in volume in the core product lines. Operating earnings for the division were up 9%.

As a result of its performance, Grainger increased its 2005 earnings per share estimate from $3.40-$3.60 to $3.60-$3.70.

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