Back in February, Hasbro reported an “unexpected drop” in toy sales. Despite this, the Hasbro CEO remained “Bullish” on Star Wars toys. In March, Toys R Us would go out of business as Rian Johnson proclaimed that myths were not made to sell toys. The Hasbro CEO then gave six excuses for poor toy sales in late March; releasing toys too early, the Toys R Us bankruptcy, other toys hitting the market, an array of entertainment initiatives hitting the market, TLJ was not the first film in the trilogy, and other toylines doing poorly too. Many would claim that kids weren’t wanting traditional toys anymore due to video games, despite the fact that it was reported in August that US Toy Industry Sales Grow To $7.9B After Toys R Us Closure. Every toy line was growing in sales except for Star Wars, which saw toys for a film that wouldn’t be released until May already on clearance in April.
Now the Jedi Temple Archives posts news from Providence Journal which publishes a piece entitled, Hasbro: ‘Difficult’ changes in progress; won’t confirm layoffs. In it, Paul Edward Parker and Tom Mooney write:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — While not explicitly confirming that layoffs were taking place Wednesday, Hasbro Inc. said that “difficult” changes are underway that affect “a single digit percentage” of the toy company’s global workforce of 5,000 employees.
The company refused several requests for further specifics on the number of layoffs that are apparently taking place, except to say that the company was not required to file a federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification — or WARN — notice. Such a notice would normally be required 60 days in advance of laying off 50 to 499 employees at a “single site of employment,” but only if those laid off account for a third or more of the employees.
“As part of Hasbro’s ongoing transformation we continue to make meaningful organizational changes,” said an emailed statement from company spokeswoman Julie Duffy. “While some of these changes are difficult, we must ensure we have the right teams in place with the right capabilities to lead the company into the future.”
The statement went on: “We continue to add new capabilities based on our understanding of the consumer and how our retailers are going to market, while evolving the way we organize our business across our Brand Blueprint.”
But, spurred by media reports and social media posts that layoffs were underway, the department’s team that assists workers in mass layoffs reached out to Hasbro to offer help. Crowley said the department left a message with the company’s human resources department. “But, at this point, that has not been returned,” she said. Among the services that would be offered to displaced workers, the department would help them file for unemployment insurance benefits, make available job-search resources and point workers to job-training services.
Hasbro spokeswoman Duffy said the apparent layoffs have nothing to do with the news Tuesday that a law firm, Pomerantz LLP, is investigating claims on behalf of investors at Hasbro that certain officers or directors have “engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices.” Duffy said, “The claims have no merit and we intend to vigorously defend against them.”
I’m looking forward to the insight of Jeff from World Class Bullshitters into those third-quarter results that Hasbro promises to release on Monday. This development will come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying to Jeff’s groundbreaking work on the languishing Star Wars toy market. If you haven’t watched his videos, you should.