Star Wars joins forces with Disney princesses to boost Hasbro sales

 
Kasmira Jefford
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Star Wars products helped lift Hasbro's first quarter sales (Source: Getty)

Hasbro shares have edged higher after the toy-maker posted a 16 per cent jump in first quarter sales, boosted by demand for Star Wars lightsabers and Millennium Falcon playsets on the back of the recent blockbuster release.

The world's third biggest toy company behind Lego and Mattel reported revenues of $831.2m (£585.6m) in the first three months of the year, with sales up by 28 per cent in the US and Canada and by 13 per cent in its international division.

Boys sales jumped by almost a quarter (24 per cent) to $336.9m, thanks to the huge popularity of toys and figurines from the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens film, as well as demand for its Nerf brand, and the launch of the Japanese cartoon Yokai watch.

Hasbro's collection of Disney princess and Frozen dolls were also a hit, sending girls category sales up by 41 per cent to $165.4m.

"The first quarter was a very good quarter for Hasbro," Deborah Thomas, the company's chief financial officer, said: "We grew revenues, operating profit and earnings despite the continued negative impact from foreign exchange and challenging economic environments in some international markets."

"We returned $93.2m in cash to shareholders and ended the quarter with a very strong balance sheet positioned to support our 2016 growth outlook. While most of the year remains ahead of us, it was a good start to the year."

Net income attributable to Hasbro rose to $48.8m, or 38 cents per share, in the quarter from $26.7m, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier.

Shares in the Nasdaq-listed company were up by 1.3 per cent in early trading to $82.41.

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