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Lego sales soar as mini figures become a craze in playgrounds

Danish toymaker reports growth of more than 10% in UK

Lego said the runaway success of a range of £2 lucky dip figurines aimed at those with pocket money to burn had provided the building blocks for a record year for the Danish toymaker.

With a cast of characters that includes an Egyptian queen and an evil dwarf, “Minifigures” have taken UK playgrounds by storm, helping the brand to report growth of more than 10% in the UK for the six months to 30 June.

Drew Brazer, UK managing director, said the inexpensive Minifigures were “accessible” toys for children to collect. Long-running sets such as Lego Star Wars and City were continuing to sell well but Ninjago, a new franchise launched in January that pitches Lego ninjas against skeletons, had also been a hit, he said.

Group sales at the family-owned toymaker were 25% higher at 7.3bn kroner (£876m), while profits were also up at DK1.9bn. The Billund-based company said that it now had 7% of the global toy market compared with 5.9% at the end of last year. The company, which was started in 1931, has performed well despite the downturn as parents stuck to tried and tested toys to entertain their children.

Brazer said Lego had not been as affected as rivals by rising manufacturing costs in the far east as it produces less in the region. The company makes the majority of its products in its native Denmark as well as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Mexico.

Lego’s chief executive, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, said that the group saw “double-digit” growth in all 130 markets barring Japan, where the tsunami and earthquake caused disruption. “The first six months of the year have exceeded our expectations on all markets, and the financial result is very satisfactory,” he said, adding: “But as the bulk of our sales occur in the closing months of the year, it is too early yet to say anything definite about the overall result for 2011.”

Lego also said it was shaking up its management structure. The reorganisation will see a number of senior executives including Christian Iversen, executive vice-president, leave the business in the autumn. Vig Knudstorp said the changes would “make it simpler” and provide a platform for future growth. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds