‘Magic’ Helps Hasbro Stem Losses
Hasbro revenues declined 7% for the second quarter as the toy giant struggled to replace $174 million in sales of Transformers and G.I. Joe toys in Q2 of 2009. The $174 million is the difference between the revenue the two brands earned in the second quarter of last year and what they brought in the most recent quarter of this year. Hasbro was able to replace $120 million of those lost sales with gains in other categories.
Sales in the game and puzzle category were up 22%, which definitely helped, and in a conference call with industry analysts Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner mentioned Magic the Gathering first among the contributors in the games category, saying: “the Games and Puzzles category was up 22% and Preschool up 32%, both posted strong growth as did several of our mega brands including Magic The Gathering, which continues to perform extremely well.”
In the Boys category Goldner cited Beyblades, which he says is off to strong start in Canada, and just starting to hit shelves here in the U.S. with a new Metal Fusion line (see “Hasbro Reboots Beyblade Franchise”), and Iron Man saying: “we continue to be impressed by the performance of Iron Man. It’s certainly significantly up versus the first movie. We feel very good about it as we go into the fall. It’s really meeting with our expectations. We’re certainly increased from the first movie. I think everybody feels good about that.”
Later in the conference call Goldner explained the continuing strength of MTG and lavished compliments on the current leadership team at Wizard of the Coast: “David will talk about the sales in Magic in a second. But just to talk about the core brand reinvention, a couple of years ago, we changed the management team. We have great leadership out on the West Coast. The team had really re-thought that business entirely, really went back out after a trial mechanism in getting young people and people who may have lapsed as users to get back into the brand. They really reinvented the entire play pattern in many ways, but kept the things that were always important to the core player and to the fan. The fruits of that effort are starting to come to be borne out, both in the analog card business as well as the digital business. So I really compliment the team for their efforts in – this is a true case of brand reinvention, re-imagination, all yet keeping the core methodology very consistent for that core fan.”
David Hargreaves, Hasbro’s COO, then described how Magic is the number three most downloaded game on the Xbox Live Arcade, which is currently the number one online video game platform, and noted “that’s introducing new people to the Magic brand who have been going out buying the cards as well.”