Lego to cut 8 per cent of its staff after sales drop

By , on September 5, 2017

FILE: Danish toy company Lego (Photo: LEGO/Facebook)
FILE: Danish toy company Lego (Photo: LEGO/Facebook)

COPENHAGEN — Danish toy maker Lego will cut 1,400 jobs, or about eight per cent of its global workforce, after reporting a decline in sales and profits in the first half of 2017.

The privately held company said Tuesday that its revenue dropped 5 per cent to 14.9 billion kroner ($2.4 billion) in the first six months of the year, mainly as a result of weakness in established markets like the U.S. and Europe. Profits slipped 3 per cent to 3.4 billion kroner ($544,000).

It said it “now prepares to reset the company.”

“We are disappointed by the decline in revenue in our established markets, and we have taken steps to address this,” said Chairman Joergen Vig Knudstorp.

He said the long-term aim is to reach “more children in our well-established markets in Europe and the United States,” and added there were “strong growth opportunities in growing markets such as China.”

The company, he said, needs to simplify its business model to reduce its costs. Since 2012, the group has built an increasingly complex organization to support global double-digit growth. However, “in the process, we have added complexity into the organization which now in turn makes it harder for us to grow further,” Vig Knudstorp said.

He told Denmark’s TV2 that staff cuts would mainly affect administration and sales, not production.

Last month, the maker of the famous colored building blocks appointed Niels B. Christiansen, who headed thermostat-maker Danfoss for nine years, as its chief executive to replace interim British CEO Bali Padda. Christiansen will start Oct. 1.

Based in western Denmark, Lego does not release quarterly figures. The group currently has more than 19,000 employees around the world.