Disney princess dolls push Hasbro's revenue above Wall Street estimates

Hasbro earnings sparkle thanks to Disney princess dolls

Hasbro shares surged 8 percent Monday in early trading amid strong sales growth in its girls toy category.

Demand for Disney Princess, Frozen and Trolls dolls pushed revenue for the category up 57 percent in the third quarter to $462 million, the third increase in eight quarters.

Rival toymaker Mattel lost the lucrative contract for dolls based on Walt Disney's princesses such as Cinderella and Snow White to Hasbro in 2014.

The boys category, which accounted for $605.5 million in revenue, only grew 2 percent during the quarter. Hasbro once again cited poor performances from "Jurassic Park" toys for the minimal growth in boys' toys.

Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner noted that sales of "Star Wars" toys were down for the quarter, but up year-to-date. He said that this was due to Force Friday, a "Star Wars" merchandising event, being held on Sept. 30 this year compared to Sept. 4 last year, pushing sales of "Rogue One" toys into the fourth quarter in 2016.

Sales of the "Rogue One" toys are off to solid start, however. Especially, for K-2SO (Kay-Tuesso), a reprogrammed Imperial droid, which is flying off the shelves.

"K-2SO seems to be head and shoulders, literally, above everyone else in terms of popularity," Steve Evans, design director for Hasbro's Star Wars line, said during a panel at New York Comic Con in early October.

Jyn Erso, the female lead of the new "Star Wars" film, is also expected to sell well for the toy company.

Last year's release of "The Force Awakens" pushed "Star Wars" toy sales for Hasbro to almost $500 million. The company said on Monday that it expects merchandise sales for the franchise to reach a similar level for "Rogue One."

In addition, Goldner noted that Hasbro expects to see a boost to the boys category in 2017 from the release of three Marvel films: "Thor: Ragnarok," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming."

"Innovative play experiences, engaging storytelling and global execution of Hasbro's Brand Blueprint continues to drive consumer and retailer demand for our brand portfolio," Goldner said in a statement. "2016 has been a strong year, including our third quarter — which marked the greatest revenue and earnings quarter in Hasbro's history. We are well positioned for what we believe will be a good holiday season."

Hasbro's games category also grew, with revenue up 13 percent due to strong sales of Pie Face, Magic: The Gathering, and Duel Masters. The preschool category, however, saw a loss of 8 percent due to declines in sales of Playskool items, despite Play-Doh seeing its twentieth straight quarter of growth.

Overall, the toy company reported revenue of $1.68 billion, beating Wall Street estimates of $1.56 billion. In addition, Hasbro posted earnings per share of $2.03, which were higher than Thomson Reuters' estimates of $1.74 per share.