COPENHAGEN Denmark's Lego increased sales and operating profit by 10 percent in a sluggish global toy market in 2013 and said it expected to continue to outperform the market by launching new products and expand in emerging markets aided by a successful movie.
Strong performance by its Chima, Friends and City brands helped Lego, mostly known for its colorful bricks, to increase sales to 25.38 billion Danish crowns ($4.65 billion) in 2013.
This puts the unlisted Danish toymaker ahead of United States' Hasbro (HAS.O) which sold for $4.08 billion in 2013, but still far behind the $7.1 billion revenue of Mattel (MAT.O), the U.S. maker of Barbie dolls and Fisher-Price.
Lego said that in the coming years it expected to grow "moderately ahead" of the global toy market, which is expected to grow by a low single-digit percentage annually.
"We are getting very strong feedback from the market and from our customers and from the children," chief executive Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said at a presentation.
He said that in order to fulfill the ambition "to take the bricks all over the world", Lego has established major sites in Singapore, Shanghai and London, besides its existing hubs in Connecticut, U.S. and in Billund in western Denmark.
Knudstorp said Lego aims to increase its sales outside the developed countries, and that the global success of its "The Lego Movie" could help to strengthen its brand there.
"We are, of course, noticing a very considerable amount of excitement surrounding 'The Lego Movie', even in places where Lego is not so well known," Knudstorp said.
The animated film that depicts a world based on the colorful toy blocks has led the United States box office charts for three consecutive weekends.
($1 = 5.4600 Danish crowns)
(Reporting by Teis Jensen; Editing by Stephen Powell)