U.S. children asking Santa for a "Frozen" Lego set won't find it under the tree this year - unless their parents travel to Santa Claus's backyard to make them happy.
Lego, Europe's biggest toymaker, will add a product based on Walt Disney Co.'s animated hit film to its Disney Princess line in the U.S. in January. The toy will go on sale in the Nordic and Baltic regions, as well as select other northern European markets between Dec. 13 and Dec. 19, said Vicki Stoltz, a Lego brand manager.
The post-Christmas release date means that Lego is missing out on offering a "Frozen" product in the U.S. at a time when items related to the movie are ranked as most desired by American girls. Lego, which generates about half its revenue at the holidays, tops the list of items wanted by boys in the world's biggest economy, the National Retail Federation said last week.
"It would have been better if they had it for Christmas for all countries, because Christmas is a crucial period for toys and games," said Utku Tansel, head of toys and games at researcher Euromonitor International. Lego and "Frozen" is "a great combination," he added.
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"Frozen" - the story about Elsa, a princess with ice- making powers - premiered last year and now ranks as the top- grossing animated film of all time. Demand for "Frozen"-themed products has gained momentum since its debut and its popularity as a Halloween theme for children this year may have boosted the brand's visibility.
The "Frozen" set, named "Elsa's Sparkling Ice Castle" and targeted at children between six and 12, consists of 292 bricks and features the Disney characters Elsa, Anna and her pal, Olaf the snowman.
"It's not so important for us with Frozen," Lego Chief Executive Officer Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said in an interview in London, when asked why Lego hadn't released the product globally ahead of the holidays. "It is definitely across all categories a very strong property, a wonderful movie, but for us, it's a minor thing."
Lego is seeing double-digit growth in all three of its regions, the CEO said, adding that the toymaker is "in a very good position for the end season." Knudstorp anticipates 15 percent growth in global sales in the first half of 2015.
The company has a broad portfolio of products, he added, which include sets based on the "Star Wars" series and television show "The Simpsons." The building-block maker already sells sets based on Disney princesses such as Merida from the film "Brave." The Lego Friends line, which is targeted at girls, has established itself as a "major priority" for such customers, he said.
The Friends line is the first success Lego has had with new products designed specifically for girls in as many as 20 years, Chief Operating Officer Bali Padda said in an interview.
"What we are seeing now is the toy industry having a catch-up with the 'Frozen' license," Euromonitor's Tansel said. "Demand is still there, there are no signs of slowdown, it's growing."