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Lego shows first annual sales decline since 2004

The performance should not have come as a surprise; CEOs don't often leave the job after only eight months without cause

Lego bricks
Even the mighty Lego appears to be suffering from the rival attraction of digital games

Privately-owned Lego Group has seen its first fall in annual sales in 13 years despite the Chinese developing a yen for the Danish company’s products.

Revenues in 2017 fell 8% year-on-year to DKr35bn (about £4.2bn) as retailers destocked.

READ: Lego to target Chinese market as it inks partnership deal with internet giant Tencent

Operating profit declined 17% to DKr10.4bn (£1.2bn) and post-tax profit also fell 17%, to DKr7.8bn (£0.9bn).

The toy bricks maker saw sales decline in North American and Europe, while sales in China grew by a double-digit percentage.

The disappointing results won’t have come as too much of a surprise as the company announced in September last year that it was cutting 1,400 jobs – equivalent to around 8% of its global workforce.

Shortly after that announcement, British boss Bali Padda made way after just eight months at the helm for Niels Christiansen.

Christiansen said the company had ended the year seeing growth in most of its major markets but warned “there is no quick fix” and said it would take some time to achieve longer-term growth.

“During 2017, revenue in our established markets declined, primarily due to actions we took to clean up inventories. This decline impacted our operating profits.

“'We also simplified and reduced the size of the organisation to meet current business requirements and these difficult actions are now complete. Our balance sheet, cash flow and profitability, remain sound,’ Christiansen said.

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