Hasbro heads for the loo and business booms

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Business for Hasbro is in the toilet, which turns out to be a pretty good place.

The toymaker’s revenue surpassed that of its rival Mattel for the first time in 17 years thanks in part to hot sales of a new board game called Toilet Trouble.

“I never thought I would actually get to talk about this on an earnings call but, you know, Toilet Trouble is off to a very good start,” CEO Brian Goldner told analysts Monday after putting up very strong first-quarter numbers.

Profit in the quarter jumped 41 per cent on rising demand for both mobile games and classics like Monopoly, which saw classic player pieces like the wheelbarrow, thimble and boot replaced by a dinosaur, a penguin and a rubber ducky.

The game Toilet Trouble follows another Hasbro game that became a viral sensation. In the earlier release, called Pie Face, players can get hit with a face full of whipped cream. In Toilet Trouble, players in the board game take turns flushing a plastic toilet that spits water at their faces.

Shares of Hasbro Inc. touched an all-time high Monday, extending shift in fortunes in the toy industry for the Pawtucket, Rhode Island, company.

Rival Mattel reported a disappointing first quarter last week. The maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheel cars lost the rights to sell Disney’s princess toys to Hasbro in late 2014. Hasbro started producing the dolls last year and company shares are up about 31 per cent so far in 2017. Shares of Mattel Inc. have fallen about 22 per cent in the same period.

Hasbro said its best performing toys during the first quarter were its games. Revenue for its gaming business soared 43 per cent from a year ago.

Hasbro reported net income of $68.6 million, or 54 cents per share, in the three months ending April 2. That’s up from $48.8 million, or 38 cents per share, a year ago.

Per-share profits easily exceeded industry analyst predictions for 37 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue rose 2 per cent to $849.7 million in the period, also beating Wall Street forecasts of $833.3 million easily. Mattel reported revenue of $735.6 million, the first time it has lagged Hasbro since March of 2000.

Shares of Hasbro rose $5.67, or 6 per cent, to close at $101.70 Monday after earlier hitting an all-time high of $104.11.

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