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Hasbro Banks on Product Innovation, Partners With Epic Games


Hasbro, Inc. HAS, like most traditional toy makers, has been bearing the brunt of soft consumer demand and a sales crunch. In an effort to navigate challenges, the company announced a partnership with Epic Games, a leading game developer to introduce a range of Fortnite version of "Monopoly," and “Nerf Blasters”. The Monopoly variant of the Fortnite Battle Royale will be released this fall, while the Nerf Blasters are scheduled to be unveiled in 2019.
This is a great opportunity for Hasbro to expand its product portfolio to a larger number of customers and tap the demand for board games. The company continues to invest in innovation and relies on strategic partnerships to revive sales. In the past, it had entered a five-year agreement with Paramount to enhance storytelling and content capabilities. It also invested in Boulder Media, the company’s animation studio to increase digital capacities that would drive sales.

Apart from Paramount, the company announced several partnerships in the recent past, all of which reflect the company’s efforts to diversify revenues beyond retail sales and expand the customer base. One of them is its multi-year partnership with the comedy duo Rhett & Link, which is expected to boost the popularity of Hasbro’s games.

Given the latest board game craze, Hasbro aims at creating an exclusive set of games in order to entice consumers and step up against competitors. This move underscores Hasbro’s strategy of extending partnerships and focusing on greater distribution of its iconic products to drive incremental sales. Meanwhile, shares of the company have rallied 8.4%, outperforming the industry’s rise of 7.4% in a year’s time.

Our Take

Notably, Hasbro has been one of the early movers to gauge the impact of Toys “R” Us bankruptcy amid its peers. The company has been adapting rapidly to changing market landscapes and planning counter strategies. However, it is yet to be seen if the company’s efforts to turnaround through collaborations and product innovation could shore up its fortunes.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Hasbro currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the Consumer-Discretionary sector are Caleres, Inc. CAL, Glu Mobile Inc. GLUU and Carter's, Inc. CRI, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Caleres has an expected current-year earnings growth rate of 15.7%.

Glu Mobile has an impressive long-term earnings growth rate of 15%.

Carter’s has reported better-than-expected earnings in the last four quarters, the average beat being 15.3%.

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