Lego posts record profit, turnover as stores reopen

Copenhagen (AFP) –


Lego posted record profits and turnover in the first half of 2021, driven by strong demand and the reopening of retail stores, the Danish toy giant said Tuesday.

The company had already performed well last year despite the pandemic and lockdowns, thanks to the success of Lego themes such as Star Wars and Harry Potter and its expansion in China.

The unlisted family business said its net profit rose by 140 percent to 6.3 billion kronor (847 million euros, $989 million) in the first six months of 2021.

Turnover soared by 46 percent to 23 billion kronor, the maker of colourful plastic bricks said.

"Our performance was driven by strong demand for our portfolio, which has attracted new builders to the Lego brand," said chief executive Niels Christiansen.

"Our year-on-year growth benefited from fewer Covid-related restrictions compared with 2020 as our factories operated uninterrupted and the majority of retail stores reopened," he said in a statement.

Its top-performing themes this year include Lego City, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lego Creator Expert and Lego Technic.

But Christiansen said the company expects "top-line growth to stabilise to more sustainable levels (in the long term) as people return to pre-pandemic spending patterns."

Like other companies worldwide, Lego saw a bump in online sales during the pandemic, growing 50 percent in the first half compared to the same period last year.

But the toy-maker also expanded its global retail footprint as it opened more than 60 new Lego stores in the first six months of 2021, with more than 40 of them in China.

Lego had 737 retails stores, including 291 in China, as of June.

- Greener bricks -

After a vast restructuring in 2017, Lego turned its focus to multimedia games and sustainability.

In addition to its classic bricks, the company has in recent years moved strongly into areas such as video games, movies, cartoons and Legoland amusement parks.

While Lego's iconic bricks are virtually unbreakable and reusable for generations, plastic is increasingly shunned due to the lasting harms its chemical components do to the planet.

Lego has vowed that its bricks will be 100 percent sustainable by 2030. It has developed a prototype brick made from recycled plastic bottles.

The company said Tuesday it remains on track to make its packaging 100 percent sustainable by 2025, as it completed a successful trial of paper bags designed to replace single-use plastic in boxes. They will be phased in from next year.