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Fisher-Price plans layoff of up to 75 in East Aurora

Fisher-Price will be hit by another round of layoffs that could cost up to 75 jobs in East Aurora.

Several positions in the company’s finance department will be outsourced overseas, Mattel confirmed Wednesday. Those positions include corporate shared services such as accounts payable.

The East Aurora campus will lose as many as 75 workers, or about 11 percent of its local workforce, sources said.

Each employee will receive a “comprehensive exit package” which includes severance pay and benefits, according to Alex Clark, a Mattel spokesman.

The jobs will be phased out over the coming months and should be completely eliminated by early 2017. The affected finance functions will be outsourced to a business process services firm whose workforce is based primarily in Asia.

A few positions were recently eliminated in the engineering department, but those job cuts were unrelated to any outsourcing efforts.

Mattel had said in April that it was exploring the possibility of outsourcing some finance functions. A “careful review” showed that the move would be cost-effective, so the decision to outsource was made, according to Clark.

“As we work to drive continuous cost improvement throughout our business, we routinely take steps to ensure we have the best and most efficient shared services in place, to support our brands and subsidiaries on a global basis,” Clark said.

Fisher-Price employs 650 people in East Aurora. Its workforce was much larger before it was bought by Mattel in 1993.

Mattel immediately cut about 100 “redundant” corporate positions. In 1995, it trimmed an additional 700 employees from its Medina factory before closing it for good in 1997.

In 2013, Mattel consolidated certain operations to Mattel’s North America Division in El Segundo, Calif. That move resulted in the loss of 100 workers in East Aurora.

Still, the workforce in East Aurora had been shrinking even before the company’s sale.

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

Those closures were a result of Mattel and Fisher-Price moving 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 L. Dickson became president and chief operating officer in 2015. Its first-quarter results missed earnings expectations, with drops in both sales and revenue. In 2015, Mattel’s net sales were $5.7 billion.

email: schristmann@buffnews.com