Boosted by Barbie and the T.M.X. Elmo dolls, Mattel Inc. posted better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings.

Mattel reported fourth quarter net income of $286 million (75 cents per share), up 2.5 percent from $279 million (69 cents) for the same period a year earlier, beating analysts expectations of 67 cents per share, according to Thomson First Call.

Sales for the El Segundo toymaker were up 14 percent to $2.11 billion thanks to improved sales of its flagship Barbie brand, its hit T.M.X Elmo doll and strong sales of its Fisher-Price pre-school toys division.

For the year, the company reported a 42 percent jump in net income to $593 million ($1.53 per share) and a 9 percent rise in annual sales to $5.65 billion.

"We made good progress in addressing the two key challenges facing the company U.S. sales declines in the Barbie brand and pressure on our gross margins," said Chief Executive Robert Eckert in a statement.

Shares in Mattel were up 18 cent to $24.14 in midday trading Monday.

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