Hasbro is already struggling to keep up with the demand for Star Wars toys

Standing by.
Standing by.
Image: AP Photo/Kin Cheung
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Four weeks away from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens—and nine weeks after the film’s merchandise hit shelves—Hasbro is running low on inventory.

Star Wars sales met the toymaker’s highest expectations when new merchandise debuted on Sept. 4, and while the rush has eased since, demand is still ahead of expectations, CEO Brian Goldner said during an investor presentation today (Nov. 16). “As a result,” Goldner said, “inventory has been light in recent weeks and we are working to catch up.”

The toymaker, which licenses Star Wars from Disney, got a much-needed jolt from the hugely-popular brand last quarter when it helped drive revenue in the “boys” category up 24%. Overall, Star Wars sales helped Hasbro gain an edge over larger rival Mattel, which had an 11% drop in net sales last quarter, while Hasbro’s revenue ticked up 1%.

The company hopes to benefit from the brand far beyond Episode VII’s theatrical run, which begins Dec. 18.

“It’s really about that fact that, over the next five years, there will be more Star Wars entertainment than there’s been over the last 30,” said Goldner. “You’re really reigniting a fan base that has been looking forward to this era of Star Wars. And certainly we expect the brand to have success not only in the US but around the world.”

Over the past five years, partner brands like Star Wars and Marvel averaged 20% of Hasbro’s total annual revenue. That contribution is on target to reach 25% this year, bolstered by the success of Star Wars and other brands, Goldner said. Moving forward, partner brands should make up about 20% to 25% of the company’s total revenue, as Hasbro continues to grow that portion of the business.