Lego sales surge as people spend more time at home during pandemic

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Nina Goodall, 8, works on a lesson in contraction words using Lego her mum made after seeing an example online. (Fiona Goodall/Getty Images via CNN Wire)

Nina Goodall, 8, works on a lesson in contraction words using Lego her mum made after seeing an example online. (Fiona Goodall/Getty Images via CNN Wire)

Add Lego to the list of companies that have benefited from people spending more time at home.

The Danish toy maker said Wednesday that sales jumped 14% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year. CEO Niels Christiansen pointed to investments in e-commerce as crucial during a period in which retail stores where shut.

Lego’s operating profit rose 11% to $622 million as a result.

It’s not just Lego. Game makers have been on a tear as social distancing restrictions encourage many people to find new ways to pass the time.

Nintendo’s operating profit surged 428% in its most recent quarter as the Switch console and “Animal Crossing” game continued to drive sales. The company’s shares are up 35% this year.

On the other hand, toy conglomerates like Mattel and Hasbro have struggled. These companies have cited manufacturing and distribution issues tied to the pandemic as big roadblocks in their most recent quarters.

“We entered the second quarter with extensive retail closures and distribution challenges and had to absorb a full quarter of Covid-19 impact,” Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz said in a statement in July. Between April and June, the Barbie-maker saw net sales drop 15% compared to 2019.

Hasbro’s stock is down 22% year-to-date, while Mattel is off 18%. The companies are now looking ahead to the holiday season, which they hope can help make up some lost ground.

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