Danish toy maker Lego said today that sales soared 25% last year thanks partly to the new Lego Friends series of building blocks designed for girls.

The privately-owned company said that, on revenues of 23.4 billion kroner ($4.2 billion), it made net profits of 5.6 billion kroner ($1 billion) - up 38%.

The company said that series like Lego Star Wars and Lego Ninjago were among the more popular.

However it was the novel roll-out for girls, Lego Friends, that sold much better than expected - to the extent that the company was unable to keep up with demand.

Chief executive Joergen Vig Knudstorp said that Lego had shown it can develop toys that children across the world "put at the top of their wish lists in 2012."