‘Woke Barbie’ Torches Mattel Profits, Company Anticipates ‘Margin Deterioration’ During Disappointing Christmas HolidayPosted: December 13, 2017
Chloe Aiello reports: Mattel anticipates “gross margin deterioration,” during what is typically the biggest shopping season of the year.
Struggling to stay afloat, Mattel released updated full year and fourth quarter guidance, anticipating a disappointing holiday season. The toy maker predicts “gross margin deterioration,” during what is typically the biggest shopping season of the year.
“The unfavorable year-over-year gross margin experienced during the first nine months of 2017 is expected to continue throughout the fourth quarter of 2017, as a result of unfavorable product mix, higher freight and logistics expense, and lower fixed cost absorption,” the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “In addition, continued negative trends in top line performance for the balance of the year could result in additional gross margin deterioration as a result of higher inventory write-downs and discounts offered to clear inventory.”
Mattel said it expects its fourth quarter operating income margin to be significantly lower year-over-year, and anticipates 2017 full-year gross sales will decline by the mid-to-high single digits compared to 2016.
The revised guidance hints at worsening conditions within Mattel, which has watched its margins suffer for years from cheaper imports, competition from big box retailers and the impact of technology on toys.
“Based on preliminary quarter-to-date data for the fourth quarter, Mattel currently anticipates its gross sales during the fourth quarter of 2017 will continue to be negatively impacted by key retail partners moving toward tighter inventory management and by challenges in the Toy Box and certain under performing brands,” Mattel said in the filing. Read the rest of this entry »
Barbie Fans Breathe Sigh of Relief
“Sadly, I’m no longer able to commit to Barbie due to scheduling conflicts,” the actress said in a statement to Variety. “The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”
The big screen adaptation of Mattel’s iconic toy line was expected to start production this summer on June 23, but Schumer’s busy schedule includes a lengthy promotional tour for her new Fox comedy “Snatched,” which opens in May, as well as an upcoming shoot for Rebecca Miller’s “She Came to Me” opposite Steve Carell.
Sony needed to stick to its June 29, 2018 release date since Mattel already has merchandise and product cycles in motion–shifting the production to accommodate Schumer would have put on a strain on other partners on the film, according to insiders. Read the rest of this entry »
The Doll records children’s speech with an embedded microphone and sends it over the web
An advocacy group protested on Wednesday a so-called “eavesdropping” Barbie, which records children’s speech and sends that data over the Web.
The Doll records children’s speech with an embedded microphone and sends it over the web, which leaves kids vulnerable to stealth advertising tactics, the group said.
Chief executive Oren Jacob of ToyTalk, the San Francisco-based startup that created the technology in the doll, told the Journal that the captured audio files is “never used for anything to do with marketing or publicity or any of that stuff. Not at all.” Instead, the technology is used to improve speech recognition, Jacob said.
Children press a button to chat with Hello Barbie, which “listens” to their speech and sends the audio recording over a WiFi connection to ToyTalk’s cloud-based servers, where that speech is recognized and processed. The Barbie can then make a response….(read more)
Though these two articles aren’t directly related, they share a common theme: “Girl Power”!
First, commenting on the real vs. unreal-proportions Barbie debate, is author Virginia Postrel, in an essay provocatively titled called ‘Average’ Barbie Is Just as Fake’, Postrel begins with reflections drawn from her own childhood experiences with dolls:
“When I was a little girl, my favorite dolls came from Mattel and had wildly inhuman proportions. To me, they were magical and special and didn’t look the least bit strange…”
Then gets into the business with Mattel:
“…As a mass-produced product, a doll represents a single version of female proportions. Taken as a role model, any single standard excludes those with a different build. Celebrating “average” doesn’t solve the problem. Instead of trying to create a plastic role model, it’s both kinder and more honest to treat a doll as an object of escapist fantasy — a plaything.
Barbie’s popularity is waning, a fact Lammily boosters rarely fail to mention. But Mattel is in the business of selling play, not social commentary…”
Like most guys, other than G.I. Joes (and nobody really talked much about the Joe’s body image) I have no experience with dolls (honest!) and defer to thinkers like Postrel for insights. Put those dolls away and read the whole thing.
The second article involves the recent “Ban Bossy” campaign — featuring the comments of a author Jonah Goldberg, who I’m sure would agree is equally knowlegable discussing Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, or Foghorn Leghorn — and who also draws from personal experience.
“…It seems patently untrue that a) Bossiness is the same thing as “leadership,” b) That bossiness is a gender-specific issue for kids, c) That girls are falling behind in leadership nationally or in schools. Some of my views are based on the fact that I am the father of a little girl and some of it is based on informed common sense…”
And questions the premise that girls are disproportionately disadvantaged in the first place:
“In every conceivable way women are doing better and better. Sheryl Sandberg is herself proof of that. No rational or objective person believes that things aren’t getting better for women in the workplace or the executive suite.
(AP) America was shocked when news accounts first emerged outlining gruesome details of an unimaginable crime involving two iconic celebrity sweethearts, Barbie and Ken. When Ken’s headless body was discovered by Los Angeles Police, in Barbie’s Malibu apartment, a homicide investigation was launched, and only one suspect emerged.
Photographic evidence collected during the investigation, implicating Barbie in the crime, appeared on the internet, allegedly leaked by the District Attorney‘s office. In a shocking display of macabre cheerfulness, Barbie is depicted cleaning up after the murder, attempting to destroy DNA evidence. Barbie, America’s beloved icon, was arrested, and held without bail.
Grand Jury testimony revealed enough evidence to charge Barbie on four counts, aggravated assault, conspiracy, first degree murder, and obstruction of justice.
Los Angeles Law Enforcement Officials described the crime as “heinous”, and urged parents not to discuss the crime with children, at least until after the Christmas holiday. “It’s tragic”, said one investigator “We’ve been called to Barbie’s Malibu residence on a few minor domestic disputes, but there was nothing to suggest anything like this. She must have just snapped”.