Layoffs Hit Wisconsin, Arizona, Washington State
American Girl Brands LLC launched its newest doll, Luciana, an aspiring martian astronaut, in early January—then the company jettisoned 57 employees. American Girl announced 57 layoffs at 13 different locations across the country.
Of the 57 layoffs, 21 occurred at Wisconsin facilities. The remaining 36 layoffs occurred at 10 of the company’s 20 retail locations, primarily in Seattle, Washington and Scottsdale, Arizona. This translates into a 3.2% reduction in American Girl’s Wisconsin workforce and 2.9% companywide.
Julie Parks, a spokesperson for American Girl, said, “American Girl has been facing some major headwinds for the past several quarters. The measures today were part of American Girl’s ongoing efforts to truly control costs, align workforce with demand, and improve efficiencies where and when we can.”
Declining Sales Put Pressure on American Girl
For the third quarter of 2017, parent company Mattel, Inc. announced that sales fell 13% year-over-year to $1.56 billion. Third-quarter North American sales fell 22%. The company swung to a net loss of $1.75 per share versus net income of $0.69 per share in the same prior-year period.
More specifically, third-quarter sales for American Girl Brands were down 30% year-over-year at $88.0 million. Over the first nine months of 2017, American Girl sales fell 18% to $234.2 million.
Founded in 1986, American Girl is a premium brand of dolls and books. Some of the company’s best-selling lines include “Truly Me,” “Girl of the Year,” “Wellie Wishers,” and the classic historical character line “BeForever.” The company sells products through its catalogue, on AmericanGirl.com, in its proprietary retail stores, and at select specialty retailers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
American Girl is headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin in two warehouse operations and distribution facilities totaling 560,000 square feet. With the 20 American Girl retail stores and additional warehouse and distribution sites, the company’s facilities total over 1.8 million square feet.
“American Girl cuts staff, including 21 positions in Wisconsin,” Wisconsin State Journal, January 11, 2018.
“Mattel Reports Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results,” Mattel, Inc., October 26, 2017.
“Corporate Information,” American Girl, last accessed January 12, 2018.