UPDATED at 9:50 AM with executive comments. Hasbro reported decent third-quarter results this morning, with revenue rising 7% to $1.79 billion versus $1.68 billion in the year-ago quarter and net earnings inching up 3% to $265.6 million, or $2.09 per share, compared with $257.8 million, or $2.03 per share in the 2016 period.
But chairman and CEO Brian Goldner cited “a challenging economic environment” in the UK and Brazil and said the Toys”R”Us bankruptcy filing in the U.S.and Canada caused “a negative impact on our quarterly revenues and operating profit.” While the company said it continues to work closely with Toys”R”Us heading into the holiday period, it lowered fourth-quarter earnings projections to a 4% to 7% gain due to the major retailer’s issues.
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Sales for merchandise tied to Star Wars, Episode VIII–The Last Jedi could bear some of the brunt of the toy retail issues, but should build toward the first quarter and springtime of 2018 around home entertainment window, execs said. Investors pounded the stock on the news, sending shares down 8.6% for the day, to $89.75.
Hasbro’s entertainment and licensing segment net revenue grew 4% in the quarter to $58.4 million compared to $56.1 million in 2016, behind higher consumer products and entertainment revenues. Operating profit in that unit increased 20%, to $16.9 million, or 28.9% of net revenue, compared to $14.1 million, or 25.1% of net revenue, in 2016.
While the entertainment facet of Hasbro has grown thanks to blockbusters such as the Transformers franchise at Paramount, Golder faced multiple questions during a conference call with analysts about the lower-budget My Little Pony: The Movie. Released wide by Lionsgate on October 6, the film has brought in just $18.5 million domestically to date. Goldner said that while the film may not book a profit in the fourth quarter, “it should be a contributor to the company over time.” Given the related components–including a TV version in its seventh season and available on Netflix–“we think it’s a great model for the brand. … and we see this as a very good model for us.”
The overall entertainment lineup in 2018 “is stronger than 2017,” Goldner said. He mentioned Marvel’s Black Panther and Avengers outings, plus next summer’s stand-alone Star Wars movie about Han Solo, plus the Hasbro-financed Bumble Bee spinoff from Transformers. “The lineup is quite considerable,” Goldner said. “We feel very good about it.”
In his remarks before analyst Q&A, Goldner noted the first “HasCon,” which was held in Rhode Island in September. The fan convention symbolizes the company’s transition from a physical toy company to an experiential entertainment brand, he said.
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