Game Group to close 85 UK stores as sales plunge

 
City A.M. Reporter
COMPUTER games retailer Game swung to a worse-than-expected first-half loss as it cut prices to hold market share, and said new technology products will take time to benefit its results.

Game, which trades from over 1,300 outlets in nine European countries and Australia, said 85 UK stores would close because of difficult trading.

The retailer, having issued a profit warning in June, made an underlying pre-tax loss of £18.8m in the six months to 31 July.

That compared with forecasts for a loss of £10-£15.5m and a profit of £14.5m a year ago.

Revenue fell 9.6 per cent to £625m, with sales at stores open at least a year down 10.9 per cent.

The sales fall reflected a sharp decline in the PC and video games market globally as well as intense competition from supermarkets and online operators.

Game said the overall British market slumped 17.1 per cent in the first-half. It said like-for-like sales were down ten per cent in the 34 weeks to 25 September.

Shares in Game had already lost nearly two-thirds of their value over the last year.

But new chief executive Ian Shepherd said new motion sensitive games could turn things around. “They are innovation and this is a market that thrives and grows on innovation,” he said. Game said its online offer would help fuel improvements.