Mattel gets a boost from Barbie

Mattel reported strong sales in the third quarter for its biggest brand — Barbie. Sales grew 14% worldwide from a year ago.

But total sales fell 8%, dragged down by a decline in demand for its toys in China and Europe, the company said Thursday. Sales fell 18% outside of North America but grew at home at their fastest rate since 2015.

The company reported a third-quarter profit of $6.3 million. During the same quarter last year, the company reported a loss of $603 million. Shares of Mattel (MAT) rose 6% in after-hours trading.

Mattel and other big toy makers have been struggling in recent years as kids shift their interest to games on smartphones and tablets as well as other high-tech toys.

Ynon Kreiz, chairman and CEO, said Mattel has made “meaningful progress” to becoming more profitable. He said the company is on track in an industry being driven by technology. Mattel’s strategy is focused on getting the most out of its “iconic brands” and its intellectual property.

In July, Mattel said it would cut more than 2,200 workers — nearly a quarter of its staff— and sell some of its factories. Kreiz, who took the position in April, said on Thursday that Mattel was “actively exploring strategic alternatives for our manufacturing footprint.”

Mattel was dealt a blow with the closure of Toys “R” Us in June. The chain’s liquidation plagued Mattel last quarter and will continue to hurt the company heading into the holidays. Mattel expects the Toys “R” Us impact to subside next year.

Rival Hasbro (HAS) said earlier this week that it will lay off up to 10% of its staff. The toymaker has not yet disclosed exactly how many of its 5,400 global employees will lose their jobs. Just over half of Hasbro’s staff works in the United States.

Toy makers are also bracing for the possibility that the Trump administration will impose tariffs on toys imported from China. An estimated 85% of toys sold in the United States are made in China. The Trump administration has threatened a new round of tariffs that is expected to include most imports from China not already facing tariffs.