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UPDATE 2-Mattel mulls tapping into NFT craze after Barbie drives quarterly sales

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Uday Sampath Kumar
·1 min read
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(Adds full-year sales forecast, comments on NFTs; updates shares)

By Uday Sampath Kumar

April 22 (Reuters) - Mattel Inc will consider turning its collector brands into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the toymaker said after posting a record 47% surge in quarterly sales as Americans snapped up Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars in the usually slow post-holiday months.

NFTs, a type of digital asset that exists on a blockchain, have exploded in popularity this year, with NFT artworks selling for millions of dollars and musicians such as the Kings of Leon rock group embracing them for their latest album.

California-based Mattel on Thursday forecast annual sales to rise 6% to 8% versus prior outlook for a mid-single-digit percentage increase. It also predicted strong sales for the holiday season this year.

"Toys continue to prove their importance to parents as to where they choose to spend their disposable income," said Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz.

U.S. consumer confidence has got a shot in the arm as COVID-19 vaccination drives gather steam and the government hands out fresh stimulus checks.

"We are seeing a strong start to the second quarter including the Easter week and we're planning for another great holiday season," Kreiz said.

Mattel, which has been benefiting from stuck-at-home parents using toys to keep their kids entertained, posted net sales of $874.2 million in the first quarter, beating analysts' average estimate of $684.2 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Overall gross billings at Barbie, Mattel's biggest brand, rose 87% to $276.2 million.

Excluding certain items, Mattel lost 10 cents per share, smaller than the 35 cents per share loss analysts had expected.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)