Hasbro cuts almost 170 jobs across US and Canada

In what is invariably a sad moment from the toy giant, Hasbro has announced that they are cutting nearly 170 jobs throughout the United States and Canada.  A dangerous combination of weak Holiday sales, rising costs, and a struggling US economy has resulted in job cuts, with about 80% of those cuts coming in the United States, and 55 within Rhode Island itself.

Rumor has it that even some design teams within boys toys were hit by these cuts, though for obvious reasons, specific information is not currently available as to which brands were impacted.  The full report is below, and this is a sobering reminder that there are flesh and blood people…many of them… involved in the day-to-day operations that bring these excellent 4″ pieces of plastic to our favorite retailer.  If they work for Hasbro, chances are they’re very talented, so hopefully most (if not all) of them will land on their feet.

I personally extend my thanks and sympathy to anyone involved, and I hope for the best for any folks who may have been impacted by these cuts.

“(Reuters) – Hasbro Inc (HAS.O) is cutting about 170 jobs as the second-largest U.S. toy company tries to recover from sluggish sales during the holiday season.

Eighty-two percent, or 140, of the job cuts are in the United States, according to company spokesman Wayne Charness, including “about 55″ in Rhode Island where Hasbro is based.

“These moves were made to address both the under-performance in the U.S. and Canada segment, and the need for different skill sets in the company’s workforce to be better aligned with a quickly evolving business,” Charness said.

All employees affected will get “competitive” severance packages, including outplacement services, he said.

Hasbro will take some related charges in the first quarter, but they won’t be material, he added.

The maker of Nerf foam toys and Monopoly board games suffered from weak post-Thanksgiving demand, especially for its games and puzzles, in the United States and Canada.

Larger rival Mattel also missed sales expectations in the holiday quarter, but still outperformed Hasbro and gained share from Mattel, according to data from NPD, a market research firm.

Hasbro, based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, has 5,900 employees worldwide, including about 1,400 in that state.”

  • poddie

    Man, I hate to hear this. I guess for us Joe fans at least the “good” news is that it specifically called out games and puzzles. Hopefully the action figure teams didn’t get hit too bad.

    But I feel for all that have lost their jobs here. Hopefully they can bounce back well.

  • Neon Viper

    Am i the only one who thinks that action figures aren’t selling as well as it used to? That kids nowadays are only interested in videogames & smartphones? Only us collectors seem to care about toys these days… Could this be the end of the action figures???

  • Monte

    This is grim news.

    Right after I left the States, tens of thousands of teachers were laid off. A few years ago, my dream job was to work at Toyfare, and now it’s gone. For the past few years I’ve had a vague but persistent dream of working in some capacity for Hasbro, and on a selfish level this is obviously discouraging news in that regard, but in the meantime I’m lucky enough to have a solid job, and I feel for those who suddenly cannot make the same claim.

  • ARROW

    Action figure sales have been dropping STEADILY since the early/mid-1990′s. Powerhouse brands would dominate whole aisles in stores like Toys R Us, but now they take up only sections–shared with other brands in those same aisles.

  • Toradoch

    The games and puzzles really get nailed by the tablet explosion, sadly. Hundreds of both available on iTunes for free or next to it. Afterall, why interact with family when you each sit in the dark with the cold glow of the tablet reflecting on your lifeless eyes?

  • Alexx

    Ha, I hear you there. Toyfair was a vague idea in the back of my head; if not that, then something like it. Something that combines my love of humor and toys. Toys, I think, are slowly becoming a collector’s thing. Honestly, I feel a lot of lines are that way nowadays. I’ve already felt that G.I. Joes on the whole aren’t really catering to the kids of today anymore. I’m loving them, sure…but how many kids are buying them? As many times as I’ve been in the store hunting, I’ve seen so very few with Joes in hand.

    I wonder how things will change now, and more importantly, I wonder what these good folks will be doing for work if the way big companies do toys changes soon?

  • Napoleon

    The local Toys R Us here(besides the pricing being too high! $9bucks!) has not re-stocked G.I.joe in months! They can’t even keep up with WalMart! They are still trying to sell StarTrek and Prince of Persia figures!! If TRU doesn’t get it together they will see the same fate as FAO and KayBee!!

  • Scott

    The only reason I came to the town I’m in now is to go to school in the hopes of designing toys as a career.

    Essentially, I wanted to be a GIJOE designer. It only took a few years of schooling and the observation of a large percentage of my programs graduates returning to take on a double major to make me realize that the big corporate style jobs were just not that plentiful. This was over 10 years ago.

    The head honchos have to worry about their own bottom line and the investors these days. “Cost-effective” seems to mean a larger profit percentage. Market saturation and ownership of huge brand portfolios (and the trademarks, licenses, etc.) are all that really matter on the business end.

  • Scott

    As I think about it, going beyond just “disposable income” as a factor, think about the housing market.

    If there isn’t a stable home, I mean, some space….a place to keep your toys, well, one probably won’t want to buy a lot of toys.

  • Peclemmons74

    scumbag execs will still take a bonus though, I bet