For the eighth consecutive year running the Lego Group has seen an increase in market share in a 'sluggish' toy market. The company's share of the global market is now 7.1 per cent. Sales rose to £2,181 million.
The figures show that the high growth rate in 2010 has continued into 2011.
Operating profit for the year increased to £660 million from £573 million in 2010.
Profit for the year increased to £484 million from £428 million in the previous year. Group equity increased to £784 million at end 2011 from £632 million at end 2010.
Sales for the year were up by 17 per cent to £2,181 million (from £1,844 million in 2010).
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, Lego Group CEO, commented: "It is a highly satisfactory result reflecting a solid growth in profit. Growth in the North American market continued undiminished, and also in most European and Asian markets we were able to report double‑digit increases in sales."
Lego said that during the year, sales of licence‑based product lines in particular were well above expectations. This was the case with, for example, with Lego products based on Lego products based on Star Wars, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Sales of classic lines such as Lego City, Lego Technic and Lego Creator also rose sharply, while Lego Ninjago, the group’s major product launch in 2011 – a combination of traditional building sets and so‑called spinners – exceeded expectations and was the Group’s biggest product introduction ever.
By contrast, Lego Universe – the online game launched in late 2010 – fell below expectations, and in November 2011 the decision was made to halt development of the game.
During 2011, Lego continued to invest in production capacity in order to be able to meet demand and the number of Lego employees increased to an average of 9,374 full‑time employees for the year – which was 1,009 more than in 2010.
In the context of the positive results in 2011, global Lego group sales are expected to continue growing, producing a satisfactory result for 2012. One of the drivers is expected to be the new play theme, Lego Friends, which along with the existing product range should secure continued sales growth in 2012.
The company expects, however, that the economic crisis in certain European markets will mean slower growth during the coming year. In the closing months of 2011 in particular, the firm observed the growth rate in some Western European markets decline.
In the light of these economic trends the company expects a flat or slightly declining development in the overall European toy market in 2012 – while modest increases are expected in the overall market for traditional toys elsewhere in the world.