'No Quick Fix' for Lego Sales Woes, CEO Laments

Excess inventory kept new products from moving in 2017, the first time in 13 years that profits fell
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2018 8:49 AM CST
Lots of Lego bricks in this March 23, 2017, photo.   (Susan Pfannmuller/The Kansas City Star via AP)

(Newser) – If you're an 8-year-old, you can never have too many Lego bricks. If you're Lego … well, maybe you can have too many Lego bricks. Excess inventory is one reason the Lego Group says it's now reporting, for the first time in 13 years, a drop in sales and profits, per the BBC. With "too much" of the previous year's product idling in warehouses, "there wasn't enough room to get 2017 toys into the stores, and the toy trade is driven by newness," a company spokeswoman says. Revenues in 2017 were down 8%, CNBC reports, and the Danish toymaker cut 1,400 jobs around the globe in September due to plummeting sales and profits, per the BBC. And there "is no quick fix," Lego CEO Niels Christiansen says, noting the company will be striving instead for "longer-term growth," the Los Angeles Times reports. Too much inventory, though, may not be the only reason for flagging sales.

Tom Espiner lists a litany of possibilities for the BBC, including the high price of Legos (which the company says is warranted due to the bricks' high quality), a lack of "imagination" that has kids following specific instructions in themed sets rather than coming up with their own creations, and not keeping up with trends, or the times. The latter is one area where Christiansen says the company will be focusing, especially in regard to syncing up Legos with digital devices. "We see this as a way of keeping children interested for a longer time, also for later age groups," he says, per the Times. CNBC details other plans the company has for rebounding, including more effective marketing and a streamlined creative process. One new market in which Lego is making inroads: China, which offered double-digit sales growth for the company in 2017. (A Virginia man would walk over Legos for more Legos.)

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