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Mattel may outsource some jobs at Fisher-Price

Mattel is considering outsourcing some jobs, including jobs at East Aurora-based Fisher-Price, a company spokesman said.

The company stressed that no positions have been eliminated yet, and no definitive decisions have been made. Still, Mattel has been looking at ways to make the company more efficient in an effort to cut costs.

“Accordingly, I can confirm we are exploring the possibility of centralizing or outsourcing various shared services and business processes for Mattel on a global basis,” said Alex Clark, a Mattel spokesman.

The company is specifically evaluating finance and accounting personnel.

Fisher-Price, which now has about 650 employees in East Aurora, had a larger presence in the region before it was bought by Mattel in 1993.

Immediately after the sale, Mattel trimmed about 100 “redundant” corporate positions. In 1995, the company cut about 700 employees from its Medina factory before closing it for good in 1997.

In 2013, the company consolidated certain operations to Mattel’s North America Division in El Segundo, Calif. Some employees were terminated, others were relocated, and when all was said and done, East Aurora had lost about 100 workers.

But the workforce in East Aurora had been diminishing even before the company’s sale.

By 1991, Fisher-Price’s 3,400-person workforce had been reduced by half. The company lost 450 workers when it closed its East Aurora toy-making operations, 720 when it closed its Holland manufacturing site and another 250 when it cut back at its Medina plant. Another 170 jobs were shed at the East Aurora headquarters.

Mattel and Fisher-Price moved toy manufacturing to plants in Mexico and China.

Mattel and its flagship toy, Barbie, have been struggling for years. Its most recent incarnation, Hello Barbie, was a commercial flop but generated lots of buzz and media coverage for its futuristic, Siri-like technology. The company has been performing a little better since Richard Dickson became chief operating officer in 2014. February’s fourth-quarter results were better than expected, with Barbie sales increasing for the first time in more than two years.

In 2015, Mattel’s annual net sales were $5.7 billion.