Exclusive: Mattel’s double digit EMEA growth the result of ‘foundational work’

Published on: 12th February 2021

Toy World caught up with Mattel’s managing director EMEA, Sanjay Luthra, to discuss this week’s global results announcement.

Mattel unveiled its Q4 and full year 2020 global results earlier this week, posting a strong sales increase in both periods.

Across the EMEA market for which Sanjay is responsible, the Q4 growth rate was 12% in constant currency, while there were also double-digit gains for Mattel in North America, representing a particularly strong performance in the company’s two largest markets.

Mattel also managed to outpace the industry in Q4 2020: it grew approximately five times faster than the industry for the full year, according to NPD’s Group Retail Tracking Service.

Understandably, Sanjay was pleased with the performance, but highlighted that it wasn’t down to pandemic-related changes in consumer behaviour, but rather the result of a carefully planned strategy. Sanjay explained: “Our success started before the pandemic, and I am optimistic about the coming years, whatever happens next. If you look at the toy categories which went through the roof last year – Outdoor, Games & Puzzles, Construction – these are not sectors where most of our core brands lie. Mattel’s strong performance in 2020 was based on its core brands, and the foundational work that the team has put in over recent years. We went deeper into European markets to understand consumers and what they wanted – we invested in understanding the local consumer, and it has definitely paid off.”

Sanjay also believes that there is plenty of scope for further growth ahead: “I believe there is so much potential in Europe, if we approach it in the right way; last year, we gained share in each of the E5 territories. I see the EMEA ecosystem as a village: our team, our retail partners, our consumers are all key parts of the equation. I want us to behave like a challenger. We will keep building trust between our team and our retail customers, and continue to focus on our digital transformation, especially in terms of how we reach and communicate with the consumer through digital channels.”

Sanjay also paid testament to Mattel’s EMEA team: “Huge credit to the whole team. They are committed to our strategy and all moving in the same direction. It’s great to work with such a dedicated, engaged group of people who have belief in what we’re doing. There are many challenges ahead; business models will change, and it will be a real test of the partnership between retailers and suppliers. However, I believe there will also be many opportunities and we are ready to work with our customers to maximise on those.”


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