Homebound children drive surge in Lego sales

FILE - In this Monday, June 15, 2020 file photo, an employee wearing protective gear arrange boxes of Lego at a toy store at the Senayan City, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sales of Lego sets surged in 2020 as more children stayed home during global pandemic lockdowns - and parents bought the colorful plastic brick toys to keep them entertained during weeks of isolation. The privately-held Danish company said its net profit rose 19% to 9.9 billion kroner ($1.6 billion) as sales jumped 21% and it grew its presence in its 12 largest markets. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, file) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

COPENHAGEN – Sales of Lego sets surged last year as more children stayed home during global pandemic lockdowns - and parents bought the colorful plastic brick toys to keep them entertained through days of isolation.

The privately-held Danish company said its net profit rose 19% to 9.9 billion kroner ($1.6 billion) as sales jumped 21% and it grew its presence in its 12 largest markets.

Lego, which on top of its sets also earns money from video game apps, seems to be one of the businesses - like online retailers and technology companies - that were well placed to earn money from the massive disruptions in society worldwide during the pandemic.

Chief Executive Niels B. Christiansen told The Associated Press that the “super strong results” were thanks to strategic investments made years ago to move more sales online.

“This is not COVID-related. This was an evolution that started a while ago,” he said. “In 2020, we began to see the benefits of these, especially in e-commerce and product innovation."

He declined to say say how much of the company sales were online but noted that there had been 250 million clicks on the group’s web page.

Consumer sales grew by double digits in all regions, with especially strong growth in China, the Americas, Western Europe and Asia Pacific.

The push to online sales helped offset disruption to business from the pandemic restrictions.