The Force Awakens Hasbro (HAS) and Mattel (MAT)

 
The big story in the toy business is the screaming success of the seventh and latest offering in the Star Wars franchise, “The Force Awakens.” The industry group has risen from No. 55 three weeks ago to No. 23 as of Tuesday’s IBD, bolstered in part by cheery Q4 reports that included Christmas sales. The group is dominated by two 500-pound gorillas, Hasbro (HAS) and Mattel (MAT), Investor’s Business Daily reported.

Toys tied to the movie were the hottest property of 2015, helping the overall industry grow toy sales by 6.7%, according to NPD Group, a retail tracking service. The $19 billion in retail sales was the best result in more than a decade.

Toys tied to movies outperformed the market in 2015, growing by 9.4%. With the early release of Star Wars toys on Force Friday, ‘Star Wars’ managed to become the No. 1 property for the year, with over $700 million in sales. It also brought in more sales and contributed more growth than ‘Jurassic World,’ ‘Minions’ and ‘Avengers’ combined.

Investors loved Mattel’s Q4 report, lifting the stock 13.8% the next day on monster volume. Mattel has been stronger with girls and said Barbie sales helped drive a 21% increase in EPS, even though sales were flat from a year earlier.

MAT is a Cabot Dividend Investor stock.

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