Los Angeles Times

Mattel layoffs include 93 employees in El Segundo

The cost-saving move comes as the toy firm faces weakening demand and foresees economic head winds.

- By Samantha Masunaga

Toy industry giant Mattel Inc. is laying off employees, including 93 workers at the company’s El Segundo headquarte­rs, according to a notice filed with the state Employment Developmen­t Department.

Mattel attributed the layoffs to “challenges in the macroecono­mic environmen­t,” which pushed the company to more quickly embark on plans for cost savings, the company said in its Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notificati­on Act notice. The notice was dated Feb. 21.

A Mattel spokespers­on said in a statement that the company was expanding its “cost-savings program” that was discussed during a fourth-quarter earnings call and was “taking further action to optimize our operations and streamline our organizati­onal structure.”

“This has resulted in a restructur­ing of certain roles and functions across our global organizati­on as well as a workforce reduction,” the spokespers­on said.

The company did not respond to questions about how many total employees were laid off, what sectors of Mattel’s business were affected or details about severance packages.

The toy company has 1,545 employees in Los Angeles County, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2023 list of largest L.A. County employers. The publicatio­n said the employee count was provided by Mattel.

Shares of Mattel closed Monday at $18.20, down 0.27%.

In an earnings call with analysts earlier this month, Mattel Chief Executive Ynon Kreiz noted that the company’s fourth-quarter results were below expectatio­ns and hinted at future head winds. During the all-important holiday-season quarter, which ended Dec. 31, Mattel reported net income of $16 million, down 93% from the year-earlier period, and sales of $1.4 billion, down 22% from the year-earlier period.

For North America, the company saw declines in the fourth quarter in the infant, toddler and preschool segments, including Fisher Price, as well as dolls, action figures, building sets and games. The vehicles segment, which includes Hot Wheels, was a bright spot.

“As we look ahead to 2023, we continue to foresee a period of volatility and macroecono­mic challenges impacting consumer demand,” Kreiz told investors and analysts.

The company recently announced plans to bring back Barney the dinosaur in a new animated series and merchandis­e. A Mattel executive said in a statement at the time that the company hoped to tap into the nostalgia surroundin­g the purple dinosaur, who graced TV screens from the ’90s until the show went off the air in 2010.

The cuts come about a month after competitor Hasbro said it would lay off 15% of its workforce, or about 1,000 employees. Hasbro posted a fourth-quarter loss of $129 million, with revenue down 17% compared with a year earlier.

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