Danish toymaker Lego, which claims it is the third biggest toyco in the world after Mattel and Hasbro , reports that its fourth quarter growth slowed after achieving record 2011 profits.
Lego also expects a flat or weaker European toy market in 2012 and the debt crisis could hinder this year’s progress. However, it still expects to increase sales by leveraging the success of its license-based products including Star Wars and its recent efforts targeting girls with its Lego Friends line aimed at girls ages five to nine.
Led by sales from the Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars lines, Lego’s net income grew by 12% in 2011 from US$617 million in 2010 to a record US$747 million and revenue rose by 17% to nearly US$3.5 billion. The toyco also boosted its global market share to 7.1% from 5.9% in 2010.
Double-digit increases in sales were reported in most European and Asian markets and North American sales remained strong.
As Lego looks to future growth, the company plans on leveraging its recent licensing renewal with Lucasfilm, owned by American filmmaker George Lucas, that allows Lego to manufacture Star Wars-based toys for another 10 years.