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Tess Vigeland: Well, at least someone is building stuff in this economy. Even if it's plastic houses and helicopters, the clickity-clack of Legos seems to be giving Guitar Hero a little old fashioned competition. OK, maybe that's overstating things a bit, but the Denmark-based company does expect sales growth of more than 12 percent in the U.S. compared to last year. We asked Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman to put the pieces together.
Mitchell Hartman: It turns out this year a whole bunch of construction toys are flying off the shelves. Tom's Toys is in Montrose, California. Manager Ted Espinosa says German-made Playmobil is selling well, and don't even think of finding Lego.
Ted Espinosa: Normally we have a big selection of Legos, but at this moment we are out.
Retail analyst Patricia Edwards says we're seeing a tectonic shift in American consumer culture.
Patricia Edwards: It's not all about the newest, best, whiz-bang stuff at any cost. There is some sense of frugality. There is some sense of wanting thing that are going to last longer.
Edwards says the play also lasts longer with Lego than a computer game.
Edwards: These kids can make things that you would never imagine. I am constantly amazed by what's coming out of my kids' bedrooms. And they will drive things out, they will fly things out. You never know what's going to be coming out next.
Edwards thinks it's that kind of creative problem-solving we're all craving right now.
I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.