Lego celebrates 90th year with £8bn of sales as bigger and more complex toys prove a hit with grown ups
Lego raked in bumper sales in its 90th year after launching bigger and more complicated toys that were targeted at adults.
The Danish toy maker, founded in 1932, said revenues leapt 17 per cent to £7.8billion last year while profits rose 4 per cent to £1.6billion.
Chief executive Niels B Christiansen hailed a ‘milestone year’ as it marked its 90th anniversary.
Out of this world: Lego’s Millennium Falcon costs more than £700 and has over 7,500 pieces
Business boomed during lockdowns, and demand for its colourful plastic bricks shows no sign of cooling as children and adults are drawn to a rising number of products.
Best-sellers include classic brands such as Star Wars – the Millennium Falcon costs more than £700 and has over 7,500 pieces – and Harry Potter, with the Hogwarts Express costing more than £400.
At the other end of the price range, police cars, fire engines and racing cars cost under a tenner.
New designs such as flower arrangements, car replicas and buildable wall art are also proving popular. ‘I’m very satisfied with our performance,’ Christiansen said.
‘We achieved double-digit top line growth and landed the year beyond expectations on the back of exceptional growth last year and despite challenging market conditions.
‘This was due to our relevant brand, a fantastic, diverse portfolio, inspiring shopping experiences and outstanding execution from our teams.’
Lego has also pushed sales by quickly developing products related to popular TV shows such as Stranger Things. Just under half of the products sold last year were launched in 2022.
Christiansen said sales swelled partly due to shoppers selecting larger and more complicated toy sets, rather than just because of price hikes. Prices rose more than 25 per cent in some regions, such as North America and Asia.
Bosses said the latest price hikes in September were not as high as the increase in its input costs.
90th anniversary: Lego chief exec Niels B. Christiansen hailed a ‘milestone year’ for the company
Sales are expected to see ‘single-digit’ growth ‘ahead of the global toy market’ this year, Lego said.
Rival Mattel – the US owner of the Barbie toy brand –warned last month it does not anticipate any sales growth this year while Dungeons & Dragons’ owner Hasbro has also warned of sinking demand.
Lego opened 155 stores last year, raising its total global total above 900.
Around half of its new stores were in China, a key market. Lego is owned by the billionaire Kristiansen family, with the firm passing down through the generations to Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen.
The business was founded in 1932 in the small Danish town of Billund, beginning as a small woodworking shop that was forced to transform into a dedicated toy maker due to the Great Depression.
Its home town was where the first Legoland amusement park opened in 1968, decades before its second opened in Surrey in 1996.
Legoland is now owned by Merlin Entertainments, which also includes Madame Tussauds and the London Eye in its empire of attractions.
A consortium made up of the Kirk Kristiansen family’s private investment firm KIRKBI, Blackstone and CPPIB, the Canadian pension fund, owns Merlin.