1. ITV Report

Mattel sales fall again as Barbie's popularity continues to slump

Toymaking giant Mattel has reported sixth consecutive decline in sales as worldwide interest in the Barbie brand continues to spiral.

Barbie's popularity has slumped in recent years Credit: Reuters

In the three months to March, net sales for the firm fell by 2.5 per cent compared to the same period last year - the sixth quarter in a row to see a decline - while worldwide sales of the company's iconic Barbie doll dropped five per cent.

While the figures were not as bad as analysts feared, the results spelled a widening of Mattel's net loss to $58.2 million (£38.8), a four-fold increase on $11.2m (£7.5m) a year ago.

New chief executive Christopher Sinclair, who took the post earlier this month, is now focusing on turning the company's fortunes around, after losing more than a third of their value over the past 12 months.

Net sales fell 2.5 per cent in the three months to March Credit: Reuters

A former executive at PepsiCo, he said the company needs to move with a "sense of urgency" to come up with new toys which better connect with young customers.

The board and I don't want to waste time in moving forward with the necessary changes to revitalize the business...

We certainly were too slow to adapt and react to rapidly changing technology and competitive landscape.

– Christopher Sinclair, Mattel Inc chief executive

Barbie dolls have been around for more than 50 years, but sales have slumped as the popularity of electronic toys and film-based merchandise - such as those designed around Disney's Frozen - gained ground.

Shares in Mattel rose 6.6 per cent to $26.94 (£18) yesterday after sales, despite the drop, outperformed predictions.