Magic: The Gathering has been supplanted by Nerf as Hasbro’s largest brand. That news was revealed Monday by CEO Brian Goldner in the company’s 2015 earnings conference call. Nevertheless, Goldner also stated that Battle for Zendikar was the game’s most successful set launch yet.
Growth in Monopoly and Magic: The Gathering contributed to the 8 percent increase in the games category, absent FX. Magic had a very good fourth quarter with the release of Battle for Zendikar, which had the strongest start to a set in the brand’s history. In addition to higher revenues in our franchise brands and several other Hasbro gaming brands, Pie Face was a clear winner this holiday season and continues to be in high demand at retail. It was recently named Toy of the Year in the U.K. You’ll learn more about the next innovation for Pie Face later this week at Toy Fair.
The Magic Digital Next platform, which we first got a hint of in November, was said to be launching in 2017, and additional Magic initiatives to be announced at Toy Fair later this week.
With the potential of a Mattel merger recently in the news, Goldner offered this assessment:
We’re focused on executing our brand blueprint strategy… [though we] continue to remain open to ideas that enhance our strategic brand blueprint and the strategy that we’re executing. But we’re very focused on executing our own strategy.
Overall, Hasbro finished 2015 with a very strong performance. Year-to-year fourth quarter revenues grew 13 percent, or 23 percent before the impact of foreign exchange. Full-year revenues for 2015 were $4.4 billion and net earnings $451.8 million. That’s revenues 4 percent higher than 2014, or 13 percent higher without the foreign exchange impact.
Hasbro’s fourth quarter revenues in the games category were 18 percent higher than the previous year. For the full year, games grew 8 percent. (Both of these again representing numbers absent foreign exchange.) In comparison, the boys category grew 30 percent and the preschool category 28 percent, while the girls category shrunk 13 percent.