Sad news from Hasbro. The world’s second largest toy company has announced it is laying off 170 of its workers. 55 here in the U.S. and 115 more overseas. According to The Republic:
“Toy maker Hasbro on Tuesday laid off 55 employees in Rhode Island, part of a larger downsizing that comes just months after announcing an expansion into Providence, company officials said. Company spokesman Wayne Charness said in a statement that about 170 workers are being laid off worldwide because of the ‘underperformance’ in Hasbro’s U.S. and Canadian divisions, which are under new leadership. He also cited the company’s need for ‘different skill sets’ in its workforce.”
“Underperformance” and “different skill sets” are probably translated into plain-talk as “low sales” and “we’re making toys nobody wants.” The article also quotes Mr. Charness as saying that the layoffs are part of an effort to “return this business to historical levels of profitability and growth” and that “the company’s business remains strong.”
Well, that’s good to hear, Wayne. But laying off 170 people doesn’t exactly fill us with confidence. Of course, times are tough everywhere and that includes within the toy industry. And with more children being raised in today’s “digital age” of video games, it’s a sure bet that less are growing up playing with traditional games and toys and that overall lower sales are reflecting that fact. Add into the mix rising oil and gas prices and an overall struggling U.S. economy, and toy manufacturers must surely be taking a hit. Of course, without further “inside intel” regarding actual sales, it’s hard to draw any further conclusions. Let’s hope Hasbro’s “new leadership” eventually listens to all the toy fans and collectors out there who’ve been offering good, solid, insightful advice for decades. Anyone out there have any suggestions for Hasbro? Please step up and leave a comment!