With LEGO's recent 2015 annual report, and pulling back data from old annual reports (as well as an extra data point from David Robertson's book, Brick by Brick
), I compiled a quick graph of LEGO's annual profitability from 1994 to 2015:
What's interesting in pulling this data together is that LEGO's annual reports aren't always consistent with each other. They usually report the numbers for the previous 4 years, along with the current year's data. But sometimes they appear to modify things retroactively. For example, in 2001, they reported the loss in 2000 at 831 mDKK, but then in 2002, they said it was a 916 mDKK loss. And then in 2004, they said it was an 863 mDKK loss!
I actually asked David Robertson about this, and although he couldn't give me much in the way of specifics, he said this was essentially due to the juggling around of the business units within LEGO. For instance, when they sold off the LEGOLAND theme parks, they no longer reported the numbers for the parks' profitability, since they were no longer part of the Company. Hence, not only does it change the current year's numbers, but also previous years, because for the sake of the annual reports, you really want to be comparing apples to apples.
For the curious, there appear to have been 4 distinct "groupings" of how these numbers were reported. The raw data looks like this (in millions of DKK):
Group 1: (1994 - 2001): 752, 431, 470, 62, -194, 274, -831, 431
Group 2: (1998 - 2003): -194, 273, -916, 433, 428, -1072
Group 3: (2000 - 2006): -863, 366, 326, -935, -1931, 505, 1430
Group 4: (2003 - 2015): -888, -1800, 214, 1290, 1028, 1352, 2204, 3718, 4160, 5613, 6119, 7025, 9174
What I'd really love to see is further historical profits from further back, but I can't find any references to them (if anyone's got them, and can publicly release them, that'd be awesome!). It would be very interesting to see the surge in profits from 1978 onward (which you can see a bit in historical LEGO Sales figures from Robertson's book, but doesn't show net profits).