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Global success of Barbie film drives up sales at Mattel

The bumper success of the Barbie movie has given a boost to Mattel, helping push sales up for the first time in a year.

The US toymaker credited the film – the first to feature the world’s most famous doll and the first launched by the company’s new in-house film division – with a 9% year-on-year increase in sales between July and September to $1.9bn (£1.6bn).

That included a 27% jump in doll sales, which was driven by demand for toys from its Barbie, Monster High, Disney Princess and Disney Frozen lines.

It follows the immense success of the Barbie movie, directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. The film was a summer hit, raking in more than £86m at the UK box office and becoming the biggest film of 2023 to date.

Mattel added that the strong sales performance over the quarter reflected “the successful execution of our strategy to grow Mattel’s IP-driven toy business and expand our entertainment offering”.

Its chief executive and chair, Ynon Kreiz, said: “Consumer demand for our product increased in the quarter and we continued to outpace the industry. Our results benefited from the success of the Barbie movie, which became a global cultural phenomenon, and marked a key milestone for Mattel.”

However, the Barbie effect failed to raise overall profits at the California-based company, which fell 50% to $146.3m, due in part to a higher tax bill. Nevertheless, Kreiz said Mattel was well positioned to compete with its rivals.

The chief executive said he expected the company to gain market share in the final months of the year, despite tough economic conditions, including inflation, which could still hit demand for its toys as consumers face higher bills for everyday goods.

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Mattel bosses assured investors that it was still on track for a “strong holiday season”.