Game in final battle to find white knight

 
Kasmira Jefford
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MORE THAN 2,000 Game Group staff will be made redundant this week after the video games retailer collapsed into administration yesterday.

PwC, the appointed administrator, said 277 stores would be shut with immediate effect, leaving 2,119 employees without jobs including 15 head office staff.

The remaining 332 stores employing 2,814 people will stay open as normal as PwC attempts to find a buyer to rescue the business.

“The recent job losses are regrettable but will place the company in a stronger position while we explore opportunities to conclude a sale,” said Mike Jervis, joint administrator and partner at PwC.

Ian Shepherd, who stepped down from his role as chief executive yesterday, tweeted: “It breaks my heart to see a business made up of such magnificent people come to this and yes, I think we should have been able to avoid it.”

Game has become the latest casualty on the high street after a string of profit warnings and the refusal by several big suppliers including EA Games to provide the retailer with new blockbuster releases.

Jervis told City A.M the chain had suffered “high fixed costs” incurred from its vast store portfolio and its “ambitious overseas expansion, with many of these loss-making stores funded by its UK operations”.

The firm, which trades as Game and Gamestation, told customers on Facebook its reward card has been frozen, meaning some 19m members globally will not be able to redeem points “until further notice”.

Game has also suspended its gift cards and warned it would not be able to offer refunds for products.

PwC said is in talks with several parties who have expressed an interested in purchasing part or all of the business and its assets. These are said to include Gamestop and Hilco.

Sources close to Game said failure to reach an agreement could result in RBS and its lenders taking control through a debt-for-equity swap.