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Star Wars saves Hasbro’s 2020 sales with ‘Mandalorian’ toys

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Star Wars saves Hasbro’s 2020 sales with ‘Mandalorian’ toys

Move over Mr. Potato Head, here comes Baby Yoda.

Toy maker Hasbro reported a double-digit sales surge tied to its Star Wars merchandise last year, thanks to “The Mandalorian” series streaming on Disney+.

“Hasbro’s Star Wars revenue grew nearly 70 percent last year despite it being the first year without a theatrical release since 2014,” Hasbro chief executive and chairman, Brian Goldner said during an earnings call.

Hasbro also saw a surge in sales of traditional toys and games, like Monopoly and Operation, as parents looked for ways to entertain their kids during coronavirus lockdowns, the company said.

But the increase was mostly limited to the US and Canada, which weighed on its overall results and disappointed investors.

The stock ended down 4.25 percent to $93.15 a share.

In a research note, D.A. Davidson analyst Linda Bolton Weiser attributed the stock decline “entirely due to underperformance in international.” 

Demand for its signature toys abroad was weak, resulting in a total sales decline last year of 8 percent to $5.5 billion at a time when toys were flying off the shelves worldwide.

For the fourth quarter, Hasbro reported earnings of $105.2 million, down from $267.3 in 2019. After excluding items, Hasbro’s earnings per share of $1.27 still beat expectations for $1.14 per share. Revenue for the quarter rose, but only by 4 percent to $1.72 billion.

Hasbro attributed some of the weakness to “underdeveloped” e-commerce in regions like Latin America, adding that it had to mark down merchandise in both Latin America and Asia to move inventory.

Demand in Europe was flat, the company said, without elaborating. Sales in the US and Canada, by contrast, popped by 16 percent in the fourth quarter.

Board games like Magic: The Gathering and Monopoly each saw their best years ever in 2020, while class games like Jenga, Operation and Connect 4 had a “stellar” year, Goldner said.

But licensing revenue — or merchandise tied to movie releases — suffered overall as Hollywood largely refrained from new releases. In addition to Star wars, Hasbro has had licensing deals tied to Spider Man movies, Transformer movies and Power Rangers films.

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Alexandra Ford English becomes 1st female board member at Ford

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Alexandra Ford English becomes 1st female board member at Ford

Henry Ford’s great-great-granddaughter has become the first woman in history to take a seat on the company’s board of directors.

Alexandra Ford English, 33, who has an MBA from Harvard and an undergraduate degree from Stanford, will begin her tenure on the 14-member board immediately, which will also include her cousin, Henry Ford III, the founder’s great-great-grandson, according to a report.

English, the daughter of the company’s executive chairman Bill Ford, joined the 118-year-old company in 2017 and works as director of corporate strategy.

Both Ford and English were elected to the board in March.

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AMC cashes in on Reddit-trading frenzy with $428 million share sale

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AMC cashes in on Reddit-trading frenzy with $428 million share sale

Cinema operator AMC Entertainment Holdings has raised about $428 million from a share sale, capitalizing on the retail-trading driven surge in its stock earlier this year.

The world’s largest cinema chain operator’s shares have gained more than five-folds in 2021 thanks to interest from amateur traders on Reddit that were piling into heavily shorted stocks such as GameStop and AMC to punish hedge funds that bet against them.

AMC said in a statement Thursday it had sold 43 million shares at an average price of $9.94 apiece in the at-the-market offering, sending its stock nearly 16 percent higher.

The company has raised funds in the past few months to ride out a downturn in its business wrought by pandemic-driven theater closures, delays in the launch of big movies and the growth of video streaming platforms.

It said in January it had raised $917 million since mid-December through equity and debt issues. It raised an additional $304.8 million in the same month through a share sale.

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Amazon Fresh grocery store to replace Fairway in Paramus

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Amazon Fresh grocery store to replace Fairway in Paramus

The Paramus Fairway’s getting a fresh start.

An Amazon Fresh supermarket is set to replace the shuttered Fairway Market in Paramus, N.J.

The Jeff Bezos-owned e-commerce giant bought the former Fairway location out of bankruptcy auction along with another former Fairway store in Woodland Park for a total of $1.5 million last March, The Post previously reported. 

Amazon’s plans for the two locations were listed as confidential at the time, but came as the Seattle-based company, which also owns Whole Foods, was beginning to expand in the groceries space. 

But Amazon confirmed in November the former Woodland Park Fairway would be converted into an Amazon Fresh. And now, the Paramus location will go the same route, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to NorthJersey.com. 

It’s not clear when opening day will be, and the company did not return The Post’s request for comment. 

Amazon opened its first Fresh store in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood in September. It’s since opened 11 other locations elsewhere in California and in Illinois, according to the tech giant’s website. 

Amazon Fresh is the company’s attempt to offer a mix of in-store and online grocery shopping while attracting a distinct demographic from Whole Foods by offering lower prices. Fresh stores also tend to feature more national staple brands like Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s than Whole Foods, which emphasizes organic food. 

As The Post previously reported, Amazon may be looking to scoop up some more Fairway locations to expand Amazon Fresh’s footprint in the Northeast. Only seven of Fairway’s 14 stores were sold at last year’s bankruptcy auction, including the two that went to Amazon. Village Supermarket, which operates Shoprite stores, acquired at least four of those locations as well as rights to the Fairway brand. 

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