Pink is the colour of success for Lego
Stronger than expected sales of toys aimed at girls helps Danish toymaker achieve a 25 percent increase in revenue
The Danish toy giant Lego released its 2012 annual report today, which revealed that revenues rose for the fifth consecutive year.
The company reported that its revenue increased by 25 percent, from 18.7 billion kroner in 2011 to 23.4 billion kroner in 2012.
The toymaker also saw its operating profit increase by 40 percent and its operating margin increase by four percent. Its net profit for 2012 was 5.6 billion kroner, which improved over 2011's profit of 4.2 billion kroner.
"It is a highly satisfactory result and better than we expected at the beginning of the year," Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, the CEO of Lego Group, said in a statement. "This is due, first and foremost, to the fact that we were able to develop and launch products that children all over the world have put at the top of their wish lists in 2012.”
Lego pointed particularly to the success of its Lego Friends line, which performed twice as well as expected.
The line of toys, which is aimed at young girls, came under criticism upon its release for encouraging gender stereotypes. Several online petitions popped up against the line, including one on the popular site Change.org that criticised the company for giving the toys sexist activities including “lounging at the beach, brushing their hair in front of a vanity mirror, or shopping with their girlfriends”.
Denmark's minister for gender equality, Manu Sareen (Radikale), also accused the line of reinforcing traditional gender roles, although he soon thereafter apologised for “formulat[ing himself] in a bombastic and blunt manner.”
Lego's chief marketing officer, Mads Nipper, said that the company released the Friends line with "a lot of anxiety as we have historically never been very successful [in] attracting girls" to its toys.
"Through Lego Friends [we] have managed to introduce Lego play to millions of girls who had never received a Lego product before,” Nipper said in a statement.
Overall, the lines of toys that were most successful for the company were Lego Star Wars and Lego City, followed closely by Lego Ninjago.
The company also reported that direct online purchases now account for some ten percent of total sales.
Lego's financial results come just two weeks after the company announced that it would eliminate a total of 380 positions from its Billund factory by 2015.