Don’t fall to pieces, Lego is in town

Published: June 10, 2013
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Children were seen busy building castles and buildings on small tables at the launch. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

Children were seen busy building castles and buildings on small tables at the launch. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

Children were seen busy building castles and buildings on small tables at the launch. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS Children were seen busy building castles and buildings on small tables at the launch. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS
KARACHI: 

Lego has finally made its way to Karachi. Originated in Denmark, the toy line consists of colourful interlocking plastic bricks which come in an array of shapes, gears and figures. At the launch of its first store in Pakistan on Friday at The Forum, Lego fans — children and parents — were busy constructing plastic architecture and enjoying a family day out.

The huge turnover reflects two things: there is a die-hard Lego following in Karachi and it clearly appeals to people of all age groups, not just children. Lego bricks are playful and can be assembled in numerous ways — you can construct objects such as vehicles, building and robots, wherever your imagination takes you.

At the launch, the store was abuzz with children as young as three (along with their parents) who were busy deciding which toy to take home. Children above the age of 10 were seen huddled on small tables busy building castles and buildings.

Amongst many parents present, Chheena Chappra, a mother who was seen with her 11-year-old son Habib said, “I have literally grown up playing this game [Lego] and years later, I see my young son being so involved in it. I think I am more excited than my son that Lego has come to Pakistan,” she exclaimed.

Chief Executive Officer of Lego Pakistan Bilal Saleem informed The Express Tribune that the legacy of Lego dates back to 1938. “It’s all over the world now,” he said. Saleem started operating the business online before launching the store; he started to sell Lego toys on his website, www.iknowmytoys.com last year. “I felt that there was a dearth of good, creative toys in the Pakistani market. This is the reason why I thought of opening up a place which would sell brain-stimulating toys,” he explained.

Saleem said he played with Lego as a child and felt that in today’s world, children only engross themselves in iPhones and computers. “The creative ability of the youth is shrinking fast because they don’t do anything creative, such as building something with the help of these plastic bricks,” he added.

Lego might awaken that creative streak inside you, but these plastic bricks might just be a little hard on your pocket. The price range starts at Rs500 and can go up to Rs100,000 and above. The colourful boxes were labeled with price tags, which were much more expensive compared to other toys in Pakistan. However, Saleem feels that the price is competitive. “Keeping the Dubai market in view, we have Lego toys at a much cheaper price,” he said.

With a wide range of Lego variants on the racks, from doll houses to complicated ones such as the Star Wars pack, parents and children were left perplexed making the right choice.

Correction: The date 1938 was incorrectly written as 1983 in an earlier version of the article. The correction has been made.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Asad Shairani
    Jun 10, 2013 - 11:50PM

    Lego started way earlier than 1983!

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  • Shahryar
    Jun 11, 2013 - 12:27AM

    Loved the lego as a child. Still cant get over them!

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  • Jun 11, 2013 - 12:38AM

    Keeping the Dubai market in view, we have Lego toys at a much cheaper price

    You are not in Dubai wise-guy!

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  • Zain
    Jun 11, 2013 - 7:57AM

    Good information. Glad to see it, I think a lot of people can identify with Lego play bricks. The start of Lego goes all the way back to 1949. Source; Wikipedia.

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  • Lego Enthusiast
    Jun 11, 2013 - 9:57AM

    As a Lego fan, I was very happy when the Lego store opened along with the online store. But a quick comparison of the prices at the US Lego Store and the Pakistani Lego Store reveals a 100% to 150% mark up on all the items. As an enthusiast, one is willing to pay “a little more” to get something they want, but this is ridiculous. Even with shipping costs from the US through 5-10 day USPS delivery and a custom duty of 25-35% it works out cheaper buying direct from Lego.com.

    The article mentions some Lego sets in excess of 100’000 which is true, the Death Star is listed at 103’400.00 Item: #10188 a quick look at the US price, at the current rate of conversion, it’s 40’300.00 Rupees.

    Seems like Bilal Saleem is a sharp businessman and knows his toys, his target market and the amount of cash versus awareness they possess.

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  • Farrukh
    Jun 11, 2013 - 9:59AM

    First world toys in third world country

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  • Zoro
    Jun 11, 2013 - 10:36AM

    @LegoEnthusiast You are spot on mate

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  • Bilal Saleem
    Jun 11, 2013 - 11:47AM

    Lego was actually started in 1938 and not 1983. The regular line of LEGO Plastic bricks were made in 1942. Just a correction

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  • Bilal Saleem
    Jun 11, 2013 - 12:05PM

    @Lego Enthusiast:
    Thanks for the detailed comments and your concerns about pricing. We wish to inform all our customers that the pricing of LEGO products are different based on regions. If you check the prices of LEGO Products in Australia they are way higher than what is being sold in USA. Additionally, the Duty structure is not 25-30%, its about 60% including Sales Tax, Income Tax and other expenses

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  • Faraz
    Jun 11, 2013 - 1:20PM

    I have a childhood love affair with lego. Now I buy 1 challenge a week with my son. The price I pay here range from £10 to £70.

    Equally, Pakistan is not a big market in terms of sales. So the importer has to divide their fix cost over the small sales they have.

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  • LegoFan
    Jun 11, 2013 - 5:08PM

    @Lego Enthusiast:
    @Asad Shairani:
    @Shahryar:
    @Antebellum:
    @Zoro:
    @Faraz:

    Well said you guys, but sadly we as Pakistanis are forced to pay so much for something we can avail for less, and even easily enough. The Death Star example is one thing, even the NXT 2.0 Kit is being sold for 80K plus! And if you enquire about Customs, Taxes and any other duties it does not cross over 45-50% but we need to ask the Vendors how do they bring down the stuff, and that is via Sea, and that is not as expensive as Air Freight as mentioned by Lego Enthusiast.

    Few days back same website/store posted a friendly Ad on their website stating they will pay 4 times the price if someone finds the notorious Mr. Gold from Series 10 mini figure. The retail for one random packet is Rs. 500 or so. 4 times comes to Rs. 2000! and ironically Mr. Gold been fetching close to $1000 on Ebay, even know it can be sold off for $700 easily. So its a clear case of misleading people. Huge disappointment!

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  • Moiz Omar
    Jun 11, 2013 - 6:11PM

    I LOVE LEGOS! Legos are awesome!

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  • samin
    Jun 18, 2013 - 1:32PM

    lego prices in europe include huge profit margins and high vat. prices in pakistan should not be 10-15% more than store prices in europe after all duties etc.

    reasonable pricing will make this venture a success. price skimming will doom it to failuire and we will revert back to buying our lego abroad.

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  • samin
    Jun 30, 2013 - 9:47AM

    visited the lego store at forum for the first time yesterday. the range is good and prices about 10-15% more than expected. maybe they run a sale soon ! need to have more technics items as well. it is great to have a lego store in Karachi.

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