Lego to rebuild its business one block at a time
Projected to post a pre-tax annual loss of more thanUS$200 million once Christmas sales are tallied, 72-year-old Danish toyco Lego is aiming to get back to basics in 2004. The company has ousted COO Poul Plougmann, and CEO Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (a grandson of Lego founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen) will take over day-to-day operations. He plans to shift Lego’s business strategy to concentrate on maximizing core products, rather than aggressively seeking out movie licenses and developing new lines. The company, which may have misjudged the importance of the preschool market when it made the decision to backbench its Duplo line of over-sized building blocks, will relaunch its toddler products this year, beginning with four Dora the Explorer construction sets due to come out in March. Ranging from US$9.99 to US$29.99, the playsets are the first products to come out of a two-year deal Lego has signed with Nick.
Hasbro takes Wizards out of the retail game
Hasbro plans to permanently close 85 stores operated by Wizards of the Coast in order to keep the unit focused on its primary function, which is card game development. Wizards bought the Game Keeper retail chain shortly before Hasbro swallowed it up for US$325 million in 1999.