In the toy industry, companies constantly reinvent themselves through new products. Not unlike baseball players, they're only as good as their last at bat, usually measured by quarterly financial results.
In this year's mixed second quarter, Hasbro reported lower-than-expected revenue as games and preschool product sales fell off. The company, however, saw strong demand for its action toys amid the release of the latest Transformers and Spider-Man movies. Total revenue rose about 8 percent to $829.3 million as international sales jumped a strong 17 percent. Sales of boys' toys, Hasbro's largest business, climbed 32 percent.
The short-term financial situation has resulted in a year-to-date decline of 10 percent for Hasbro shares. This year has been what McGowan describes as a difficult year for the toy industry as a whole (year-to-date, Mattel is down 26 percent).
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Longer term, Hasbro has performed well under Goldner's watch.
"Goldner's a strong R&D guy, and the stock has done well since he came in as CEO," McGowan said, noting that he sees continued international market strength, as well as strong entertainment/licensing growth. Since August 2009, Hasbro shares have risen 87 percent; Mattel shares are up 95 percent during the same five-year span.
McGowan sees "substantial potential upside" next year in the new "Star Wars" movie release and the introduction of DohVinci, a new Hasbro modeling compound that's more "liquidy" than Play-Doh. With the holiday season approaching, Goldner said during Hasbro's July 21 earnings conference call with analysts that he's betting big on My Monopoly, Simon Swipe and Battle Masters, featuring Transformers and Marvel Comics characters, to boost sales.
"Creating innovative brand experiences for our consumers is what drives our business and ultimately creates shareholder value," Billing said.
—By Bob Diddlebock, special to CNBC.com