Hasbro worldwide cuts include 55 jobs in RI

PROVIDENCE, RI – Fifty-five Hasbro employees in Rhode Island lost their jobs Tuesday. The Pawtucket toymaker says the cuts are due to sluggish performance in the U.S. and Canada.

Hasbro spokesman Wayne Charness says the Rhode Islanders who lost their jobs were in sales and marketing and some worked in digital media. Charness says the layoffs were not about cutting costs.

"One of the things we did is put new leadership into the U.S. and Canada segment in January," says Charness. "They've had a chance now to take a look at the business and decided that we needed to prune in some areas so that our business can be stronger going forward."

Rhode Island gave Hasbro a $1.6 million tax break last year in exchange for expanding its operations in downtown Providence. The toymaker hired 160 Rhode Islanders last year, and Charness says while Hasbro is cutting back in some of its divisions the company will continue to grow in other areas.

"We'll continue to hire into areas where it makes sense, areas where we can drive profitability and growth," says Charness. "It's never an easy thing to do, it's unfortunate but that's where we are."

The toymaker employs 1,400 people in the state, and about 5,900 worldwide.

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