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Mattel lays off workers, including 93 employees in El Segundo

A round, red Mattel logo with serrated edges
Toymaker Mattel told state officials that it would lay off 93 employees at its El Segundo headquarters as the company battles economic head winds and weakening consumer demand for toys.
(Associated Press)
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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.”

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“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.

Barney, the friendly purple dinosaur, helped launch the careers of singers Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez.

Feb. 13, 2023

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.

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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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