Denmark-based Lego is the world’s most profitable toy-maker, with Mattel and their Barbie empire a close second. But when Lego reported a decline in revenue for the first half of 2016, the news was just what the company was hoping for.
According to Reuters, business was booming at Lego to the tune of a 25 percent growth rate in 2015. But it couldn’t keep up with the demand in North America, which was the world’s biggest toy market in 2015. So the company that brought you “The Lego Movie” did something highly unusual: it embarked on an effort to get Americans to stop buying its toys. The company reduced its marketing and advertising activities here while investing in more production plants in China, Hungary, Denmark and Mexico, and it hired more than 3,500 new employees to meet demand going forward.
“We are working very closely with our retail partners to ensure that as we go into the important holiday season, the back half of 2016, that we’ve got all of the levers pulled to get back on the growth trajectory,” Lego Chief Financial Officer John Goodwin told Reuters. “We feel we need to invest, to build some breathing space.”
If Lego wanted people to buy fewer Legos, my family definitely missed the memo. I haven’t been able to use my dining room table for actual dining in months, thanks to my 8-year-old’s painstakingly built Lego world consisting of a smoothie shop, roller coaster, Ferris wheel, pop-star house, tree house, double-decker bus and more.
My house aside, Lego’s effort to slow North American sales seems to have worked, but sales in Asia and Europe continued to grow by double digits, according to the Washington Post.
Lego, a family-owned company founded in 1932, has been successful for decades, releasing thousands of sets of colorful blocks and inter-connecting pieces for boys and girls worldwide. And the company partners with some heavy-hitters: “Star Wars,” Disney, Angry Birds, “Ghostbusters” and the White House, to name a few. Their brand power goes beyond the box, with six Legoland theme parks, 125 retail stores and dozens of video games. (Oh, and the aforementioned movie from 2014 garnered $468.1 million at the box office.)