Hasbro delivers dour quarter as higher prices cool demand

Hasbro Inc (HAS.O) missed quarterly profit estimates on Tuesday as the company’s move to raise prices to offset surging commodity costs led inflation-weary customers to buy fewer toys and games.

While toys have typically held up better than other discretionary categories during economic downturns, Hasbro warned earlier this month that demand was starting to slip ahead of the holiday season due to stubbornly high inflation and cut its annual sales forecast.

Hasbro said on Tuesday it expects to see more promotional activity heading into the gifting season as consumers get more conscious about spending their holiday budgets wisely at a time of decades-high inflation.

“Promotions and entertainment field demand have become increasingly important and will be key in the quarters ahead,” Chief Executive Officer Christian Cocks said on a post earnings call, adding that Amazon’s recent Prime Day saw Hasbro’s sales volume rise in mid-double digits from a year earlier.

The company expects fourth-quarter revenue growth to be flat on constant currency basis, driven by key brands such as Peppa Pig, My Little Pony and Marvel’s Black Panther. Analysts were expecting a near 2% decline.

“There is still indications of fairly strong demand for toys,” Linda Bolton Weiser, analyst at D.A. Davidson, said.

Still, Hasbro saw its net revenue fall 15% to $1.68 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 25, partly dented by a stronger dollar.

The Transformers toys maker reported a 28% fall in adjusted net earnings to $196.2 million, or $1.42 per share, while analysts had expected the company to earn $1.52 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES.

Shares of the ‘Magic: The Gathering’ maker were down about 2% in morning trading.