New ranges send Lego sales soaring in first half

Lego bricks Image copyright Lego

New Jurassic World and Elves ranges have helped Lego post double-digit sales growth globally in the first half of the year.

The Danish toy company said that revenue rose 23% to 14.1bn kroner (£1.4bn) for the six months to 30 June.

Net profit for the period was 3.5bn kroner (£345m), an increase of 838m kroner.

The increases come despite tough comparisons with 2014 when The Lego Movie boosted sales.

Chief financial officer John Goodwin said the weakness of the Danish currency and the euro flattered sales by 5 percentage points.

"Nevertheless, we are very satisfied with the underlying growth rate of 18%... versus the same period a year ago," he said.

The toy market had expanded in the first half of 2015, Mr Goodwin said: "What we need to stay laser-focused on is to continue to innovate around the Lego brick, creating super play experiences for children around the globe and continue to stay relevant as trends evolve."

Lego's first-half revenues exceeded those of rival toymaker Mattel, which posted sales of $1.91bn (£1.25bn) for the same period.

The Danish company recorded the biggest increase in sales in Asia, where the company has invested heavily to reduce its reliance on markets in Europe and North America.

It will open a new factory in Jiaxing, China, later this year to supply the Asian market.

Julia Goldin, chief marketing officer, said more than 300 Lego sets were on sale during the first half of the year.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Visitors add to a Lego cityscape comprising more than two million bricks created by artist Olafur Eliasson on the High Line in New York City earlier this year

Lego's City, Creator, Technic and Star Wars ranges were among the most popular, along with the ninja-themed Lego Ninjago range.

Another Lego movie based on the Ninjago characters is due to be released in 2017.

Andreas Mogensen, Denmark's first astronaut, took 20 Lego figures with him as he blasted into space on Wednesday on a Russian Soyuz rocket.

He is one of a three-man international crew on the Soyuz mission to the International Space Station.

The figures, bearing European Space Agency logos, will be given away as competition prizes when the astronaut returns to earth.

Lego is seeking to find sustainable alternatives to the petrochemical-based materials used to make its bricks. It aims to switch to sustainable materials for all of its toy ranges by 2030.

Lego is controlled by Kirkbi, the investment vehicle of Kirk Kristiansen, which also owns a 29.9% stake in Merlin Entertainments.

Merlin operates Legoland attractions in Windsor, Billund in Denmark - where Lego is based - and four other locations in the US, Germany and Malaysia.

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