El Segundo-based Mattel Inc. reported third quarter earnings last month, and newly minted Chief Executive Ynon Kreiz said the company’s performance during the period was the “first time in eight quarters that we have posted year-over-year growth” for operating income.

The news was tempered in part by a Securities and Exchange Commission comment letter sent to Mattel regarding the Toys R Us Inc. bankruptcy, which prompted the company to alter its reported third quarter 2017 adjusted operating income to $117 million from $160 million.

That change allowed Mattel in its third quarter 2018 report to show a 31 percent jump year over year in adjusted operating income, with $153 million.

“This meant that third quarter profit saw a 31 percent increase (year over year) instead of a negative 4 percent using the original third quarter numbers from last year,” Linda Bolton Weiser, a senior analyst at Great Falls, Mont.-based D.A. Davidson Equity Capital Markets wrote in a research note.

“This enabled Mattel to tout its first (year-over-year) operating profit increase in many quarters.”

The company reported third-quarter 2018 net income of $6.3 million (.02 cents a share) compared to a loss of $603.3 million during the same period a year ago.

Global revenue saw a 4 percent decline year over year to $1.4 billion, but sales in North America were up by 4 percent, according to the quarterly report. The company’s iconic Barbie brand was a bright spot, with gross sales up 14 percent worldwide. Other Mattel brands, however, continued to show weakness. Fisher-Price sales fell 12 percent, Hot Wheels fell 6 percent and American Girl sales fell 31 percent.

Earlier this summer, Mattel said it would trim 2,200 workers from its payroll – almost a quarter of its staff – and sell off some of its manufacturing facilities abroad. Kreiz, who took over as chief executive from Margo Georgiadis in April, said during the third quarter earnings call with investors that Mattel was “actively exploring strategic alternatives for our manufacturing footprint.”

Legal Logistics

California Senate Bill 1402 was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September and authorizes the state to penalize retailers, shippers and other companies for labor violations made by trucking firms they

contract with.

Last month, truck drivers and warehouse workers launched a three-day strike at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles claiming unpaid back wages from logistics companies. This marked the 16th strike in the last five years from the local Teamsters union and specifically two targeted logistics companies: Greenwich, Conn.-based XPO Logistics Inc. and Cherry Hill, N.J-based NFI Industries Inc., two of the largest drayage and warehousing companies at the twin ports.


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