Lego sales surge as housebound families turn to play

School pupils build a motion sensor-controlled sanitiser dispenser from Lego parts during a workshop in the Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung. Lego has achieved a resurgence in popularity in part due to the Covid-19 lockdowns introduced in many countries.

Sales of Lego jumped 14% in the first six months of 2020 as families under coronavirus lockdown spent more time playing together at home, the Danish toy maker said on Wednesday.

Family-owned Lego has returned to growth since 2017, when a decade of double-digit sales increases came to an abrupt halt.

Since then, the company has managed to outpace growth in the overall toy market, a trend that continued between January and June.

Best known for its colourful plastic bricks, Lego competes for market share with the likes of Barbie maker Mattel and Hasbro.

“We saw a very positive development during the coronavirus lockdown when families began playing and building Lego sets together,” CEO Niels Christiansen said.

“We’ve seen momentum continue into the second half of the year even after people started going back to work and to school, so the result is not just a reflection of two months when everyone was sitting at home,” Christiansen, who took the helm at Lego in 2017, said.

Lego increased investments in e-commerce and its brand website in 2019, which saw the number of visitors double to 100-million in the first six months of 2020.

While consumer sales grew 14% in the period, revenue rose by only 7% to 15.7-billion Danish krone (R41.8bn). The difference in revenue and consumer sales was due to retailers drawing on existing inventory to meet demand, as Lego was forced to temporarily shut production in Mexico and China.

The company was able to more than compensate for all its 616 shops worldwide being closed at some point during the pandemic by increasing online sales. Nearly all shops had now reopened, Lego said.

Operating profit grew 11% to 3.9 billion krone (R10.3bn), Lego said. — Reuters


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