back to article Too many bricks in the wall? Lego slashes inventory

Reassuringly expensive plastic brick maker Lego was forced to write down a load of stock in 2017 – a move that rocked its bottom line – as it produced blocks that some customers clearly didn't want to build with. The Danish-based toy maker reported an 8 per cent slide in revenue for the calendar year to DKK 35bn (£4.21bn) – …

  1. Børge Nøst

    I need more space

    Sometime in the first half of the 80s one of my local toy shops had a sale on Lego and I found to my astonishment a 1969 model Ranger locomotive at cut-price. Not that I knew exactly that at the time, I only knew that I wanted one but they hadn't been in shops as long as I could remember. I'm pretty sure I even have the box back in mom's house. Looking at the model ads supplied in the box made me realize that train tech actually was worse in the 70s-80s then end of 60s.

    I think I have seen it valued at $400. If I had more space I'd bring along my Lego stuff and build some train tracks and environment.

  2. steviebuk Silver badge

    I love it...

    ...I don't know what it is but I still love Lego. An Adult Fan of Lego (it's a thing). But I only really like the sets as I have no imagination. But their biggest issue is greed with their prices. The Death Star that was recently retired was then re-released about a few months to a year later. Only a few extra bricks were added. Most of the design was the same yet they believe they are justified in raising the price of the new set over £100 more than it was. THIS is their big issue.

  3. small and stupid

    Random thoughts

    I doubt if Lego is more expensive in real terms than it used to be.

    Some of the tie-ins seem questionable, they seem to ignore the buildability.

    Eg Star Wars seems right, because taking your X-wing set and your Y-wing set and mashing them up to make a Z-wing is natural. But whatya gonna do with Harry Potter? Make a different Hagrids Hut?

    The problem now isnt the specialised bricks, its that the set designs are over-complicated, over-specific, and havent been designed to be customisable. a kid building LL928 gave me a template for building other spaceships. While a typical star wars lego spaceship doesnt teach you how to make anything else (i know that kinda undermines my point above but at least the Idea of Star wars lego makes sense)

  4. El Kapitan

    LEGO Obsession:

    I have 5-year old twins. They (especially my son) are obsessed with LEGO, its Disney Sets, and YouTube vids of assembling the Disney Sets. They watch these vids and play with the LEGO on a daly basis.

    Chris Gray 1 wrote:

    "FAIL ... Do your research ... I know this is a lot of El Reg commentards, but as usual you should do a bit of reseach before mouthing off. ,,, LEGO in general does not make specialty pieces for sets."

    If I understand this comment correctly, it is not correct. The Disney character sets include many special pieces and they come in special colours.

    So, we have some boxes of regular LEGO pieces and some Disney LEGO sets. Actually, we have just one set, the others are future plans based on KPI's such as reading and writing performance. The Elsa's Magical Ice Palace set has been built and remains as it is, unless I spot a discrepancy between "as-built" and the instructions, when it gets totally dismantled and re-built brick-by-brick. There is however not so much creativity here.

    The conventional LEGO parts, however, get dismantled and re-built often, and are used to create imaginative versions of the "wish-list" LEGO sets or even illustrate story themes or abstract concepts in brick form. I would gladly buy more of them if I could find the outlet where LEGO is selling off all of their surplus inventory ....

  5. Chris Gray 1

    You got me

    El Kapitan: you have me on the Disney stuff - none of the nearly 2000 Lego sets I've bought over the years has "Disney" in its name or category.

    Others mentioned the Harry Potter sets as specialized. Well, a local friend who has the largest online LEGO store in Canada called them "Harry Parter" since some are such a goldmine of parts for other stuff. I don't have an online store, but bought multiples of some of them to get the parts.

    I like the modular buildings, and some of the Creator 3-in-1 sets. I also buy boxes of just bricks, but for larger quantities I buy on . I love large Technic sets, but find the new lift-arm style ones a pain (physically!) to take apart.

  6. harmjschoonhoven

    LEGO bricks

    (ABS) dissolved in acetone makes excellent glue or thick paste. It hardens to the air. Use titanium sheet as non-sticking frame. Just saying.

  7. Rockets

    Set Prices

    Lego is often criticised for the set prices but I think there's a significant amount of royalties being paid by Lego to companies to use their brands in sets - especially Disney. When you compare a Friends set to a Star Wars or Marvel set, Friends is quite a bit cheaper. A medium or large tub of the Classic brand is even cheaper still. The quality of the knock brands such as Lepin has gotten better but it's still quite inferior to Lego. I don't mind paying the price of Lego for my kids as I know I can sell it later 2nd hand as there's huge demand for old Lego sets or even just a bunch of random bricks. Or I'll store it away for the later generations as it will last.

  8. Timmy B Silver badge

    Re: Set Prices

    re: royalties...

    I think you're right. i also think that Lego do some of the inflation themselves. This could be why they are struggling. Look at a couple of the recent Star Wars sets - one is a half complete version of an older set and one is basically a way of getting Mace Windu. The Mace Windu set was £25 odd and a creator set of similar price had nearly double the brick count.

    I am hoping that this either limits the number of sets or brings down the prices. As a household we have two collectors (me - Star Wars, SWMBO - technics, vehicles and architecture) and hundreds (read that as a number I'm too embarrassed to actually think of....) of sets are very interested to see what develops.

  9. Rob

    Some people on here clearly have no imagination

    There is a lot of people on here whinging about the specialised bits and how in their day they could build more stuff without the specialised bits. Clearly you lot have a limited imagination, the specialised bits mean even more creativity, you only have to look on pinterest to see the art of the possible, some truely talent builders using those specialised bricks in imaginative ways

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eclipsed by the partner brands

    Believe it or not, there's a policy at Lego to be conservative about the number of new brick types that are introduced. There are many exceptions, but even some apparently speciality bricks have multiple uses by design.

    My son (7) never really got hooked on Lego until the minecraft sets appeared, and even then, he much prefers to play minecraft on the playstation or PC.

    The minecraft lego sets are made almost entirely of standard brick shapes, and yet my son takes care not to 'pollute' his minecraft lego with any standard bricks which don't have the minecraft colours. Some of the bricks did have the right colours, luckily, but as I grew up without the luxury of having bricks in my preferred colours, this is a little strange for me.

    FWIW the most important lego items for minecraft play are 6x6 flat plates and 2x2 'tiles' with a single stud dead centre (87580 etc.). Together with completely ordinary 2x2 bricks you can go far with these.

    What I really miss in the market is nicely bound instruction manuals for making a range of models. Dorling Kindersley has published a couple of nicely bound books, but they're not really instructions, just 'inspiration'. Lego itself produced an "idea book" every five years or so from the late 60s onwards, but it was a flimsy, soft-covered affair.


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