LONDON: Surging UK sales helped Danish-owned toymaker Lego to raise first half profits from £60m ($99m, €70m) to £99.5m ($164m, €116m) on a 23% increase in sales to £469m ($722m, €547m).

Sales in the UK rose 20% and the company increased its share of the UK toy market to 4.1% from 3.2%. The company says its famous City and Star Wars toys remained best sellers but there were improvements in all lines. It added that its new Lego Power Miners line had sales well ahead of expectations.

Lego UK managing director Marko Ilincic commented, "As the bulk of toy sales occur in the run-up to Christmas considerable uncertainty remains about the full year result. But based on those achieved in the first half of the year we are optimistic for the remainder of 2009."

In recent years Lego has suffered from the popularity of high-tech toys and computers games but sales of these expensive items have been hit by the recession.

"People do not buy toys that their kids are going to throw aside in a few months," says the company. "In difficult times people turn to trusted brands."

Data sourced from Daily Telegraph; additional content by WARC staff