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PAWTUCKET (AP) â€” Toy maker Hasbro on Tuesday laid off 55 employees in Rhode Island, part of a larger downsizing that comes just months after announcing an expansion into Providence, company officials said.
Company spokesman Wayne Charness said in a statement that about 170 workers are being laid off worldwide because of the â€śunderperformanceâ€ť in Hasbro's U.S. and Canadian divisions, which are under new leadership. He also cited the company's need for â€śdifferent skill setsâ€ť in its workforce.
The layoffs will affect workers in Pawtucket and Providence.
The company said Hasbro hired about 160 people in the state last year.
Hasbro was approved for $1.6 million in tax breaks from the state for its plan to expand into downtown Providence. Officials said earlier this year that the expansion into a 136,000-square-foot building at LaSalle Square would bring 284 jobs and an investment of $24 million in the city.
Charness told The Associated Press Tuesday that the expansion will go ahead.
â€śOur plan is to be able to continue to grow,â€ť he said.
In the statement, Charness said the layoffs are part of an effort to â€śreturn this business to historical levels of profitability and growth.â€ť He said the company's business remains strong.
The Pawtucket-based firm said last month its fourth-quarter profit slipped 1 percent because of less than anticipated demand in U.S. and Canada and slow sales of games and puzzles during the holiday shopping season.