Chocolate maker Yowie is hoping an animated series created by Mel Gibson’s production studio Icon will turn around declining sales of its confectionary.

This week Yowie announced a seven-episode short cartoon series featuring Yowie characters Rumble, Nap, Squish, Boof, Ditty and Crag would premiere online from April 22 on YouTube and Facebook.

The series — which took two years to produce — features the characters “working together to save the natural world as per the mission spirit of the Yowie brand”.

Yowie will also be hoping Rumble, Nap, Squish and Co can save its sales.

Yowie told investors on Wednesday that net sales for the March quarter fell 22 per cent to $US4.6 million ($6 million) compared to the same period last year.

Yowie (ASX:YOW) previously told investors in February it suspected sales would be lower due to the efforts of a hard-driving competitor — which it would not name.

“We have observed significant and aggressive investing by this competitor in off-shelf promotional displays which we believe is a key driver [of lower sales],” Yowie said in February.

Still, Yowie said it was the sixth best-selling product for its largest (as yet unnamed) US distributor — and also announced distribution was expanding into 8500 7-Eleven stores and 6000 CVS Health pharmacy outlets in 49 states.

It’s been a very rough quarter for Yowie.

It’s been a rough quarter for Yowie, including a sales downgrade when Americans didn’t immediately take to the fictional Australian chocolate creatures and a surprise stock adjustment claim.

Year-to-date sales are down 4 per cent compared to the prior corresponding period, before taking the adjustment claim into account. Including the claim, they’re down 14 per cent.

North American sales are down 21 per cent to $US3.8 million, while sales in Australia dropped 26 per cent to $US800,000.

The company still has a nice little cash box of $US21 million, however.

Yowie is forecasting a better June quarter, too, saying key customers want extra stock and penetration into the US market has lifted.

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