Hasbro, the nation's second largest toymaker, credited strong performances from Magic the Gathering and board game releases (along with Transformers, Playskool, Nerf, and Littlest Pet Shop) for a 4% rise in sales in North America in 2006 versus 2005.  Operating profits for North America were up a whopping 40% for the year in large part because of 'lower royalty expenses' (thanks to Star Wars sales being replaced by sales of items with less burdensome royalties).


Sales of Hasbro's board games, which include such perennial best-sellers as Monopoly and Clue, rose 11% for the year.  Monopoly Here and Now, a new version of the classic board game, sold over 1 million copies, and Clue, The Game of Life and Battleship also did very well in 2006.  Magic the Gathering was also a major contributor to Hasbro's improved performance in 2006 -- Magic sales were up 19% for the first half of 2006 (see 'Magic Sales Boost Hasbro').