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Lego surpasses Mattel as movie success drives sales

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Legoland Parks have received a boost in visitor numbers on the popularity of 'The Lego Movie'

Legoland Parks have received a boost in visitor numbers on the popularity of 'The Lego Movie'

Legoland Parks have received a boost in visitor numbers on the popularity of 'The Lego Movie'

Lego's little plastic blocks and boxy-headed figurines are taking over the toy world.

In the first half of the year, the privately-held Danish company passed toy-rival Mattel in total sales, which rose by 11pc, in large part because of the surprise success of its namesake feature film, which garnered $468m (€361m) in box office revenue around the world and, more importantly for Lego, inspired thousands of kids to whine for the products on display. Lego shot past Hasbro in sales last year.

The results pit the two largest toy companies against each other going into the all-important holiday shopping season, when Mattel makes a greater proportion of annual sales.

Lego is pushing out Star Wars-branded sets and its own Movie, City and Creator products to gain revenue, while Mattel saw declining demand for lines ranging from Barbie to Fisher-Price.

"Surely the shot in the arm has come from the phenomenal success of The Lego Movie," said Robert Porter, an analyst at researcher Euromonitor. "Not only did the movie gross around $500m worldwide, it has also been pivotal in promoting new and existing product lines."

Lego, which gets 60pc of total sales from new products annually, said 'The Lego Movie' which opened in theatres earlier this year, was a significant contributor to revenue growth.

Part of the shift in the toy game comes from trouble in traditional US brands. Sales of Mattel's Barbie line have been slumping for two years. And though Hasbro is seeing a resurgence in its Transformers and My Pretty Ponies, its board-game business has been dismal of late.

Lego taking the sales crown is certainly a big deal, but the company trumped its American rivals in profit three years ago.

With essentially one product and a bunch of new manufacturing facilities all over the world, Lego has built one of the most solid corporate models in the toy business-or any business for that matter. Its profit margin has been more than 20pc in each of the last four years and was almost 24pc in the first half of 2014.

Irish Independent