Hasbro announced its third quarter earnings this week, and the news was better than expected. On sales that were down to $893 million from $1.1 billion a year ago, the company earned $50.6 million, compared to $13.8 million in 2000. According to CEO Alan Hassenfeld, 'Our strategy of focusing on expense reductions and growing our core brands is continuing to pay dividends.' Coming off an abysmal performance last year due to declines in Pokemon, Star Wars, and Furby (see 'Hasbro Results Cite Pokemon Decline'), Hasbro has focused on consolidation and repositioning this year. For example, Wizards of the Coast lost its status as a separate division and was consolidated into the games division a few months back (see 'Hasbro Clips WotC's Wings'). Other cost-cutting included a $68 million cut in advertising for the quarter vs. the year-ago period.
As older properties like Pokemon and Star Wars have declined, Hasbro has found strength in even older properties -- G.I. Joe and Transformers. Wizards of the Coast's new Harry Potter CCG, launched at Gencon this year, was also mentioned as contributing to the improved results.
G.I. Joe and Transformers are showing strength in other companies' lines as well. Image just had to go back to press on an already-overprinted G.I. Joe #1 comic (see 'Image Back to Press...'). And Transformers videos from Rhino have been selling like crazy (see 'There's Gold in Them Thar Old Cartoons'). Marvel will be getting into the act soon by reprinting its 80s G.I. Joe and Transformers comics in trade format (see '80s Comics Return as Trades).
In addition to Transformers, Hasbro has two other anime-based toy properties that have considerable growth potential. It's just re-launched Zoids toys under license from Tomy, and the show has just been picked up by Cartoon Network (see 'Zoids Coming to Cartoon Network'). And Hasbro also has what may be the granddaddy of anime based toy properties -- Medabots -- in the pipe (see 'Hasbro To Produce Medabot Toys').