Lego outbuilds Hasbro as bricks click in Asia

THE popularity of a toy tribe of animal warriors has helped make Lego the world’s second-biggest toy maker.

The Danish maker of colourful mini-bricks, loved by children and hated by barefoot parents, yesterday credited its Legends of Chima range, with a 13 per cent rise in sales in the first six months of the year.

The strong performance drove Lego’s market share to 8.8 per cent, helping it to overtake US-based rival Hasbro. Based on sales, Lego is now the second-largest toy maker in the world, after matchbox carmaker Mattel.

First half profits hit £360.5m, powered by a staggering 35 per cent sales growth in Asia. Sales in Europe were up eight per cent in the period, compared to a year ago, while sales in North and Latin America rose four per cent.

“Asia has not been a major focus for us as a company up until this point, but we see now with the emerging middle class, more and more consumers that are really interested in our ... products,” said chief financial officer John Goodwin.

Goodwin yesterday confirmed plans, announced earlier this year, to start building its own factory in China next year.

The firm said low stock levels in many retailers after a strong Christmas had also helped its performance at the start of this year as shops had to refill their shelves.

Lego, which begun as a small carpenter almost 80 years ago, is owned by Denmark’s richest man, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, who is the grandson of Lego’s founder.

Its popularity means that on average each person on Earth is estimated to own around 86 Lego bricks.

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