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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.”