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Polly Pocket helps Bluebird rocket to pounds 7m

POLLY Pocket and Mighty Max, the miniature toys, helped Bluebird Toys to push up profits from pounds 2m to pounds 7.2m in the first six months of this year and pay its first interim dividend of 2p, writes John Shepherd.

The miniature toys, costing between pounds 1.99 and pounds 39.99, were launched five years ago and have rescued the company, set up in 1980 to make The Big Yellow Tea Pot - a teapot-cum-house. It was designed by Torquil Norman, chairman and a former banker, while he was unemployed following a boardroom row at Berwick Timpo, another toy company.

Polly Pocket is regarded as a huge hit by Mattel, the US toy company and one of Bluebird's biggest customers. Nearly 75 per cent of Britain's 2 million girls aged between three and eight own a Polly Pocket.

More than half Bluebird's sales of pounds 40.7m at the interim stage came from Polly. Mighty Max, the equivalent for boys and a more recent addition to the range, accounted for 30 per cent.

The remaining 13 per cent was spread across dozens of other toys, mainly sold under the Peter Pan brand name.