Are Hasbro's dropping toy sales a leading indicator?S

We've been wondering for a while when the superhero movie boom would start to slow down, and maybe we're seeing our first sign. Weak sales of superhero toys helped Hasbro's overall sales to decline 35 percent, and its net income to drop to $26.5 million (from $43.4 million a year earlier.) Hasbro's biggest rival, Mattel, saw a similar drop.

Of course, this may just be due to the lack of a major superhero film this summer that excites toy buyers as much as The Avengers did last year — but this was also a much worse second quarter, in terms of net income, than the second quarters of 2011, 2010 or 2009. The company blamed the slump primarily on movie-related toys, especially Marvel toys, and the Beyblade game.

And meanwhile, other Hasbro product lines surged — including Magic: The Gathering, Transformers Rescue Bots, Nerf and Monopoly. In fact, while boys' toys declined 35 percent from a year earlier, girls' toys rose 43 percent, for their fourth straight quarter of growth, led by My Little Pony and Furby. (Insert weak joke about renaming the company Has-sis here.)

The company is extending its Marvel deal, particularly focusing on Spider-Man and Iron Man toys, through 2020. But its main New Hope for sales growth isn't superhero-related at all: it's the Star Wars license, which Hasbro expects to be a major cash machine as soon as the movies start appearing in 2015. [L.A. Times and AP]

Top image: The Pic Review