Zeenat Moorad Associate editor: Financial Mail

Toymaker Mattel is to launch an astrophysicist iteration of Barbie. Considering that she started as just a doll in a swimming costume with a ponytail, she’s come far. Barbie turned 60 this month (with not a wrinkle in sight). She is one of the most iconic toys in the world — a billion-dollar brand with $1.09bn in annual revenue. Mattel’s most recent earnings update beat analyst estimates. The big takeaways from the fourth quarter were an increase in Barbie sales and a nice expansion in gross profit margin to 46.6%, a marked improvement from 30.7% a year ago. Mattel also continued to shake off the bankruptcy and subsequent closure of major customer Toys "R" Us. Adjusted earnings came in at 4c a share — analysts were expecting a loss of 14c. Remember that the group is in the midst of a multiyear turnaround under boss Ynon Kreiz. He joined in April last year, and set out a two-pronged strategy to turn the ailing toymaker around. His plan looks something like this: cut costs (roughly $6...

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