Lego posts first sales fall for 13 years

Lego posts first sales fall for 13 years

Revenue for 2017 dropped by 8% to 35bn Danish kroner (£4.2bn; $5.8bn), compared to 37.9bn kroner in 2016.

The LEGO Group's operating profit for fiscal 2017, meanwhile, was US$1.73 billion (a decline of 17%).

Niels Christiansen, chief executive of the privately-owned Danish company, said Lego had ended the year with growth in most of its main markets and started 2018 "in better shape". It cut 1,400 jobs, about 8% of its workforce.

Revenue in established markets, like North America and Europe, declined in 2017, while sales increased by high double-digits in China, he said.

Nevertheless, new CEO Niels Christiansen believes Lego is in better shape than it was previous year, even though he also admitted he did not like the results.

"The target in coming years is to stabilise the business through continued investment in fantastic products, effective global marketing and improved operation", Christiansen said.

Lego said that it saw "strong potential" in its business in China, where sales enjoyed double digit-growth a year ago. The Danish toy giants are one of the most iconic, enduring and successful toy companies in history and the unassuming, colorful bricks that suddenly turn into devices of absolute torture when stepped on with bare feet remain incredibly popular with both the young and the young-at-heart to this day. While the 2014 The Lego Movie and some of the company's video games were successful, its big 2010 bet on an online multiplayer computer game, Lego Universe, was a flop.

Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, his grandson Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen is now the main family representative at Lego and ranked a year ago by Forbes as the 35th wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $21.1 billion. The company reported that LEGO Star Wars products, released in the second half of the year, also performed in line with expectations.

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