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Lego toys in short supply ahead of Christmas

October 21, 2015

Danish toymaker Lego has reported that it may not be able to deliver enough European toy orders ahead of this year's Christmas rush. The company has seen unprecedented growth in 2015, outselling U.S. competitors.

The heads of Lego toy figures on a blue background
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Lego fans in Europe might be disappointed come Christmas morning, as the company is struggling to keep up with a "phenomenal demand," according to a statement from the Danish toymaker on Wednesday. New orders placed by European toy stores might not be fulfilled in time for the busy Christmas season.

"We will not be able to deliver all of the orders coming from customers in the remainder of the year," said spokesman Roar Trangbaek to Reuters news agency. He mentioned that the demand had been "really extraordinary and it has exceeded both ours and our customers' forecasts."

The company declined to reveal precisely which Lego products were in short supply as well as which countries might be hit by the production shortfall. Trangbaek emphasized that orders already received would be delivered, but there will be problems filling new orders to come later this year.

"We are running our factories at maximum capacity and will do everything we can to meet demand," Trangbaek said.

A still shot from the 2014 Lego Movie
The success of 2014's Lego Movie as well as its Star Wars line have boosted sales for the toymakerImage: Warner Bros

Lego brick boom

The Danish company is expecting record profits for 2015, according to figures released in September. Sales grew 18 percent in the first half of the year, rising to 1.89 billion euros ($2.15 billion) which puts Lego ahead of U.S. toy competitors such as Hasbro - the home of Monopoly board game - and Mattel, who makes Barbie. Trangbaek added that almost 60 percent of Lego's annual consumer sales typically occur around the Christmas shopping season.

To meet the rising Lego demand, the unlisted family-owned company announced it would invest more in factories in Mexico, Hungary, and Denmark. Another production factory in Jiaxing, China should be completed by 2017. The factory expansions are set to produce 3,000 new jobs in the next few years.

Some countries already experienced pre-Christmas Lego shortages last year, including Denmark and Canada.

rs/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)