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Star Wars sets help Lego sales rise by a quarter

Park visitors enter Legoland Florida during its grand opening celebration in Winter Haven, Oct. 14, 2011.

PIERRE DUCHARME/REUTERS

Danish toymaker Lego AS said its sales leapt by a quarter in 2012, helped by the popularity of its Star Wars-themed toy sets.

The maker of colourful plastic building pieces said on Thursday sales rose to 23.4-billion Danish crowns ($4.2-billion U.S.) last year from 18.7-billion crowns in 2011 despite an economic slowdown that has hurt rivals Mattel Inc. and Hasbro Inc.

Last year, Lego extended its deal with American filmmaker George Lucas to manufacture models related to the Star Wars saga, including space ships and miniature figures.

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Even with higher licence and royalty costs, Lego said its annual profit rose to 5.6-billion crowns from 4.2-billion crowns the year before.

The Lego group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen and has passed from father to son, and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder.

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