Danish toy giant Lego has revealed its fastest growth for five years thanks to soaring demand from locked-down families during the pandemic.
The group reported a 19% jump in operating profits to 12.9 billion Danish kroner (£1.5 billion) for 2020 as revenues rose 13% to 43.7 billion Danish kroner (£5 billion) and consumer sales soared 21%.
It saw strong online sales as shops worldwide were forced to close amid coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions and with parents seeking to entertain their children in lengthy periods of lockdown.
It also hailed last year’s launch of the Super Mario sets, which blend physical bricks with digital games, as one of its most successful ever.
Lego said it will ramp up investment in similar sets during 2021, starting with this month’s release of Lego VIDIYO – a partnership with Universal Music, which allows children to make their own music videos with special effects and filters.
Lego group chief executive Niels Christiansen said: “For the past two years we’ve made large-scale investments in initiatives designed to support long-term growth.
“In 2020, we began to see the benefits of these, especially in e-commerce and product innovation.
“We will further increase investments during the coming year, with a continued focus on innovating play, our brand, digitalisation and developing an omnichannel retail network.”
But despite the sales boost during the crisis, the group also had to navigate disruption as film releases were postponed, forcing it to hold back new toy launches.
Some of its global factories and shops were also temporarily closed due to the pandemic and, while some have since reopened, others remain closed, according to the group.
The group said the sales jump was partially offset by higher costs of global shipping following the temporary closure of the manufacturing sites in Mexico and China, as well as investments in new products.
It saw the number of visits to Lego.com double last year and, despite the pandemic, ploughed ahead with store openings – with another 134 new shops, including 91 in China, expanding the chain to 678.
Lego plans to open another 120 sites in 2021, with 80 in China.
Mr Christiansen said: “People are looking for unique and memorable physical brand experiences, so we will continue to invest to expand our global retail footprint, as well as elevate our instore shopping experiences.
“We will also further build our e-commerce capabilities to support online shopping on our own and our partners’ platforms.”