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Published: Tuesday, 12/7/2004

Ohio Art posts $158,000 loss for third quarter

BRYAN - The financially struggling Ohio Art Co. reported more difficulties yesterday, saying its latest quarterly performance showed a $158,000 loss, as nearly all toy categories had lower sales.

The performance in what is a prime Christmas sales period boosted the firm's loss for the first nine months of the fiscal year to $2.6 million on sales of $17.5 million. A year earlier, the company showed a smaller loss, $549,000, on larger sales, $21.7 million.

For the third quarter, ending Oct. 31, northwest Ohio's only major toy maker said it lost 18 cents a share on sales of $8.6 million, compared with a profit of 32 cents a share, or $281,000, on sales of $8.6 million for the period a year earlier.

All toy categories had lower sales except its new ETO electronic drawing toy and Magna Doodle, which the firm was licensed to sell this year. Higher advertising costs for ETO contributed to the lack of profit, the company said, but even then, shipments of toys trailed projections.

The financial report showed a continuing sales decline of its once popular Betty Spaghetty doll and of its widely known Etch A Sketch, the Williams County business said.

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