updated 11/6/2008 4:21:44 PM ET 2008-11-06T21:21:44

Toy maker Mattel Inc. said Thursday it is cutting about 1,000 positions worldwide in response to the economic downturn.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based company, which makes Barbie, American Girl and Fisher Price products, among others, said the positions amount to 3 percent of its worldwide work force and will reduce its professional and management staff by 8 percent. About 70 jobs cuts are at the company's Fisher Price unit, based in East Aurora, N.Y.

Mattel said the cuts will come from a combination of layoffs, attrition and retirements.

The company said the move was part of an attempt to analyze its cost structure and make changes to boost productivity. The recent economic slowdown "amplified" the need to address the company's structure and streamline its global work force, Mattel representative Lisa Marie Bongiovanni said in a statement.

Toy makers have been battling high costs for commodities such as resin and have had to pass some of the costs on to consumers via higher selling prices.

Last month, Mattel reported fiscal third-quarter profit edged up less than 1 percent to $238.1 million, falling short of analyst expectations. Sales rose 6 percent to $1.95 billion.

Expenses for advertising, promotions and other selling and administrative expenses all rose during the quarter.

Needham & Co. analyst Sean McGowan said Thursday that Mattel's move is not that surprising considering toy makers have been facing higher costs for about two years.

"I don't think its a sign that things are suddenly worse," he said. "Companies have to do things like this. I'm not reading much into it."

Mattel shares fell 40 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $14.58 in afternoon trading, amid a broader market tumble.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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