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No toy slump for Lego

A child plays with LEGO building blocks while visiting the National Building Museum's exhibit 'Lego Architecture: Towering Ambition' in Washington, D.C.

The childens' toy aisles can seem more daunting than ever. New products are coming out more quickly and it seems like almost every toy has a digital component.

But amidst all the hot toys is a familiar name: Lego.

The brand is still going strong after all these years. In fact, the company is doing better than ever; even while its competition is suffering from a big toy slump, Lego's sales have tripled over the past five years.

According to toy industry analyst Sean McGowan, Lego does its homework. "They do a lot of research getting down at the floor level talking to kids, and talking to retailers about what they need to do to be responsive."

The company has also made a recent push to attract girls. McGowan says that the company realized the answer wasn't to make minor changes to products directed at boys. "Lego finally figured out that it was about the figure. The figure is bigger, its got more interchangeable parts, it's a little more realistic looking and the girls identified with the figure more than the boys do."

Overall, its been a tough year for toys but McGowan says that when it comes to why Lego is so successful, it's still a "real puzzler." Even though other companies like Mattel and Hasbro have a similar global reach and budget, "there's almost nobody having the same level of success."

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.
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