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Star Wars Toys Performed Well After All!

There seems to be some confusion about the performance of Star Wars toys in the 2nd quarter of 2018. In Hasbro’s very own earnings presentation for the 2nd quarter of 2018 only Beyblade and Marvel were mentioned as showing growth for Hasbro’s Partner Brands, which was more than offset by the other Partner Brands. But a transcript of the earnings call following the presentation reveals that things are not as bleak and actually quite positive when it comes to Star Wars. Click through for more details about Star Wars retail performance!

Brian Goldner

Brian Goldner, Hasbro CEO

In yesterday’s post about Hasbro’s earnings in the 2nd quarter of 2018 I wrote that Star Wars toys sales, overall, declined. This was based on Hasbro’s presentation.

This is the direct quote from Hasbro’s presentation:

Partner Brands declined 10%: Growth in BEYBLADE and MARVEL offset by declines in the other Partner Brands

This implies Star Wars declined too, since it is one of the “other Partner Brands”.
However, things are somewhat different after all.

In the earnings call following the presentation Brian Goldner talked to journalists and analysts and went into some more detail regarding a few things and Brian Goldner said the following about Star Wars:

“Star Wars revenue grew slightly in the quarter. In the U.S. point-of-sale was positive. Our product line for Solo: A Star Wars Story was well received by consumers as was our fan focus, Black Series and new vintage collection. Outside the U.S. we are successfully selling through carryforward inventory.”

And further:

“Star Wars in revenue terms was up a bit in the quarter and we’re seeing POS up in the high single-digits in the U.S. even ex Toys“R”Us and up higher if you include Toys“R”Us. We’re also engaging across a number dimensions not only kid oriented product but the fan oriented products performing quite strongly in Black Series. We had a very successful launch of our HasLab product which was the sale barge if you recall where we crowd-funded that and we ended up with nearly twice as many subscribers as we had required in order to move forward with that product.

And then of course Episode nine comes December 20, 2019. What I’ve said all along we still believe which is that with Star Wars having more and more regular entertainment and visibility to that entertainment that the brand would contribute at a more sustained higher-level and that’s what we’re seeing is that in fact Star Wars will probably look similar to a year ago and the days of surging in a movie year and shrinking in a non-movie year probably behind us instead it just becomes a really strong contributor year for year and quite good for us.”

So, this is what Brian Goldner had to say about Star Wars toys. I do wonder why the earnings presentation didn’t include any of that and implied that Star Wars revenue declined in 2018. Unless, of course, Brian Goldner was mostly talking about revenue growth in the USA which was offset by revenue decline in other parts of the world. But nothing specific was said about that. His statements do sound more general.

And Hasbro seems to believe that Star Wars sales will be less volatile, reaching a stable higher-level baseline, without movie year surges, which is no surprise when you have one new movie each year, there are no non-movie years anymore.

Anyway, it’s good to hear that things are not as bleak as were indicated in Hasbro’s very own presentation and that the “fan oriented” Black Series performs strongly and that it and TVC are both well received by fans (adults), as is the Solo toy line.

So things are not as bad after all. It is, of course, possible that 5 POA figures, role playing items and other Star Wars merchandise didn’t perform so well, but Brian Goldner said nothing about that and any statements about these lines is pure speculation. Since we are mostly interested in super articulated action figures it should be a relief for all of us that the two important lines, Black Series and TVC do well according to Brian Goldner, and the Black Series even quite strongly so.

But I still wonder why none of that was mentioned in the presentation which painted a somewhat different picture of things.

Source: Transcript of the earnings call on Seeking Alpha

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