Covid lockdowns fuel surge in Lego profits

Lego increased sales by more than a quarter last year while profits jumped by nearly a third as families turned to its plastic bricks for entertainment during pandemic lockdowns.

The Danish toymaker said it had gained market share around the world in 2021 but warned that growth would slow to less than 10% this year as schools and workplaces reopen.

Niels Christiansen, the chief executive of Lego, said: “In 2021 we saw the benefits of strategic investments made over the past three years to innovate our portfolio, expand and evolve our retail experiences and increase capacity within our global supply chain network.”

As it celebrates its 90th year in 2022, Lego said sales reached Dkr55.3bn (£6.2bn) while profits hit Dkr17bn (£1.9bn), despite increased freight and raw material costs for its plastic bricks, as it recorded a big shift to selling directly to consumers online.

Bestsellers included Lego City, which includes child-friendly sets to make train stations or helicopters, as well as Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lego Technic, all of which appeal to adults as well as youngsters.

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Lego also increased direct sales to consumers by opening 165 new stores around the world, including more than 90 in China, taking its total to 832 by the end of last year.

In November, the company said it was giving its 20,000 employees three extra days of holiday and a special bonus in the light of bumper revenues during the first half of the year.

It is opening a new $1bn factory in Vietnam to support growth in Asia and is phasing out single-use plastic bags in its boxes and testing a prototype brick made from recycled plastic as it attempts to become more sustainable. Lego has also pledged to remove gender bias from its toys after a global survey found attitudes to play and future careers remain unequal and restrictive.

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