Barbie's star fades, dragging on Mattel in 3Q

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Barbie's star fades, dragging on Mattel in 3Q
MUNICH, GERMANY - JANUARY 28: Barbie-dolls with the Barbie Collection 2014 are shown at the Press-Preview of the Nuremberg International Toy Fair 2014 on January 28, 2014 in Nuremberg, Germany. The Barbie Collection 2014 was presented by Designer Guido Maria Kretschmer. The Nuremberg International Toy Fair 2014 is the worlds biggest toy fair and is opendend to visitors from January 29th to February 3rd. (Photo by Joerg Koch/Getty Images)
Barbie dolls from all different eras are lined up for the 50th anniversary of Barbie.
A display of Barbie dolls is shown at the Mattel exhibit at the New York Toy Fair.
Stephanie Torres, of Chicago, stocks up on Barbie dolls.
Barbie video girl edition
In this Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, photo, Barbie dolls, a Mattel product, are displayed in a Walmart store in Robinson Township, Pa.
Barbie and Ken dolls from Mattel are displayed at the American International Toy Fair.
A Barbie doll wearing a Dior dress is on display next to a Dior handbag as part of an exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of Barbie in The Netherlands, at Tassenmuseum Hendrikje, the Museum of Bags and Purses, in Amsterdam, Tuesday Jan. 21, 2014. Fifty dolls are on display together with 1500 bags and purses, part of the museum's total collection of 4500 bags and purses. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
FILE - In this July 11, 2011 file photo, Barbie dolls sit on the shelf at Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt. Toy maker Mattel Inc. said Monday, April 16, 2012, their first-quarter profit dropped 53 percent, pulled down by costs tied to an acquisition and lower sales for Barbie and Hot Wheels. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
Imitation Barbie dolls dressed in traditional Bolivian carnival costumes stand in a doll making workshop in El Alto, Bolivia, Friday Jan. 21, 2011. The dolls will be sold at the annual Alasita Fair, a three week fair of miniature items in La Paz beginning late January. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
** COMMERCIAL IMAGE ** In this photograph taken by AP Images for Mattel, Barbie Collector celebrates the 30th anniversary of their Dolls of the World Collection with the debut of the Statue of Liberty Barbie Doll, part of the new Landmark Collection, Tuesday, June 15, 2010, on Ellis Island in New York. In addition to the new doll collection, the first ever exhibit of Barbie dolls will be on display at Ellis Island from June 16 through August 15, 2010, representing 40 nations from around the world. (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Mattel)
FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005 file photo, Ashley Cebollero, of New York, looks around in front of a bank of Barbie Fashion Fever dolls in New York. Debuting in 1959, Mattel’s 11.5-inch blond fashion doll has long held the No. 1 doll title with an estimated $1.3 billion in annual sales. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, fIle)
Barbie dolls sit on shelves of the Mattel Outlet Store, Monday, Jan. 31, 2005, in El Segundo, Calif. Mattel Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit rose 33 percent on the strength of the world's largest toy maker's overall sales, favorable currency exchange rates and a one-time gain from a federal tax return settlement. Its shares rose more than 6 percent. Worldwide sales of Mattel's flagship Barbie doll brand were down 1 percent, while sales of the company's Other Girls brand rose 1 percent. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
ROME, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 11: Clothes for Barbie Dolls exhibition during the 'I Love B' as a part of the Vogue Fashion Night Out of Rome at Galleria Vittoria on September 11, 2014 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) - Mattel's got girl problems and her name is Barbie. Sales of the iconic doll continue to slide and a surprising drop in sales of its American Girl toys could become another headache for the toy company as it heads into the crucial holiday season.

Mattel reported Thursday that Barbie sales fell 21 percent for the three months ended Sept. 30, even sharper than the 15 percent drop in the second quarter.

And American Girl's third-quarter sales declined 7 percent, compared with a 6 percent rise in the second quarter.

Heightening tensions even more, Mattel's rival Hasbro Inc. recently landed the rights for dolls from the blockbuster Disney movie "Frozen," a coveted relationship for Mattel. The rights for the "Frozen" dolls will go to Hasbro in the spring of 2016.

Dolls are traditionally a tough market to corner. There's a lot of competition and the affections of the target audience - little girls - can be fleeting.

It's not all bad news for Mattel, however. It has recently introduced dolls that have resonated with customers even as Barbie's star appears to fade. Sales of Disney Princess and Ever After High dolls were given most of the credit for the 1 percent increase in sales of other doll brands in the quarter.

Mattel toys that are geared toward boys are also a bright spot. Sales for the Wheels category, which includes the Hot Wheels and Matchbox brands, climbed 4 percent.

Mattel Inc., based in El Segundo, California, reported a profit of 97 cents per share on revenue of $2.02 billion for the period Thursday. That was short of Wall Street expectations. Analysts had expected per-share earnings of $1.02, and revenue of $2.18 billion, according to a poll by FactSet.

Shares fell 5 percent to $29.01 before the opening bell.

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