The plastic doll has been defeated by the plastic block. For the first half of 2014, Lego sales reached $2.03 billion, making it number one across all toy makers. Their net income was a substantial $477 million. Mattel, on the other hand, had only $28.3 million in net income for the second quarter and a net loss of about $11 million their first quarter.
The blocks are popular with kids of all ages, and both genders, but they really hit the jackpot with The Lego Movie. The products featured in the film flew off the shelves, as kids wanted to build what they saw on the big screen. Still, Lego is cautious. The holidays, fast approaching, will either solidify or topple Lego from the top of the toy world.
"It is too early to say if the strong performance will be reflected in the full year results," chief financial officer John Goodwin said in a statement. "The majority of Lego sales to consumers happen in the second half of the calendar year in a short time span of a few weeks leading up to the holiday season."
Mattel isn't totally behind the curve. Though Barbie gross sales dropped 15 percent, American Girl sales were up six percent. Mattel also notes the purchase of MEGA brands in their earnings report, for $423 million. MEGA brands, which you might know as Mega Bloks, are a Lego competitor: another plastic, colorful block.
Mattel is gearing up for a strong holiday season. Bryan G.Stockton, Mattel Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement, "In the second quarter, we made significant progress across a number of initiatives to better position Mattel in the second half of the year and beyond. For example, we completed the acquisition of MEGA Brands, reduced inventories, strengthened our management team, shifted marketing spend to the back half of the year, and exercised strong controls on SG&A expenses." With the acquisition complete, Mattel might be fighting the toy battle with blocks, not Barbies, this Christmas.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.