NEW YORK — Mattel Inc. reported a surprise loss and disappointing sales in the fourth quarter as the nation’s largest toy company still reels from troubles at Toys R Us and a weak appetite for some of its brands.

Its stock fell more than 8 percent in after-hours trading after the earnings report Thursday.

Like many toy companies, Mattel has been struggling with shoppers’ increasing shift online and children’s growing appetite for video games and mobile devices. Moreover, the bankruptcy of Toys R Us last fall has put more pressure on Mattel and others.

Toys R Us announced last month that it was closing up to 182 stores after struggling during the holiday season. It operates about 900 stores including Babies R Us stores. Toys R Us accounts for about 11 percent of Mattel’s annual sales, according to Stephanie Wissink, an analyst at Jefferies LLC.

Mattel’s efforts to overhaul the Barbie brand, however, have led to sales improvements. It has worked hard to add more diversity to the Barbie lineup, adding such dolls as hijab-wearing models. The company said that Barbie had the strongest brand performance, rising 9 percent in the quarter. However, sales at Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends fell in the quarter.

The company based in El Segundo, California, reported a loss of $281.3 million, or 82 cents per share for the period. That compares with a profit of $173.8 million, or 50 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Sales fell 12 percent to $1.61 billion. Its loss adjusted for one-time items was 72 cents a share

FactSet says analysts expected an adjusted profit of 16 cents per share on sales of $1.69 billion.

Shares of Mattel fell $1.31to $14.01 in extended trading.

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ANNE D'INNOCENZIO
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