Game Group benefits from flight to home entertainment

VIDEO games retailer Game Group yesterday said its trading since the start of February was in line with company forecasts, thanks to an increase in the number of consumers staying at home in the downturn.<br /><br />&ldquo;The overall trading performance for the group remains in line with the board&rsquo;s expectations&rdquo; the firm said in an update for the period from 1 February to 13 June.<br /><br />The group said it had benefited from a &ldquo;stay-at-home&rdquo; trend during the downturn, as well as a surge in demand for popular games consoles like the Nintendo Wii.<br /><br />Game, which operates a chain of 1,365 stores, said its net debt as of 30 May stood at &pound;86m, up from &pound;57.8m 10 months ago. It predicts that net debt for the year ending 31 January 2010 will be around &pound;60m.<br /><br />Meanwhile, the integration of the Gamestation and Game UK acquisitions continued to &ldquo;progress well,&rdquo; the firm said. The full-year costs of integration will be &pound;6.5m and the capital costs will be &pound;5m.<br /><br />In April chief executive Lisa Morgan announced a 76 per cent increase in pre-tax profits, thanks to the group&rsquo;s abilitiy to exploit a wider demographic of gamers. Women now account for a third of customers. <br /><br />Shares in Game yesterday fell by two per cent to 164.7p.