GAME, the UK High Street’s premier video game storefront is about to slash its store count by over 40 stores across the country.
For those of you from outside the UK, GAME Digital has been a mainstay of the UK shopping experience for decades now. Largely growing during the early 2000s it accounts for much of the UK’s video game shelf space and that looks set to dwindle now. The British retailer, with over 300 stores in a number of locations across the country, has been battling against the overall downturn in spending felt throughout the high street environment, but it looks like it won’t make it out unscathed.
To date, 13 sites have had notice served on them including existing GAME sites in Mansfield, Canterbury, Watford, Glasgow Fort, and Leicester. Yesterday, notice was served on a further 14 sites impacting outlets owned mostly by Intu and New River. The sites include Derby, Norwich Chapelfield, Lakeside, Bexleyheath and Carmarthen. What this likely means for shoppers is fewer physical boxes on fewer shelves and a continued push to digital distribution.
GAME has been considered one of the better performing retail stores in the UK. A growing gaming market and a shift in focus that included opening a range of Esports arenas in-store meant pre-tax profits, the loot drops before repair costs and guild tax, went up by more than 20% in January. Despite this, the push away from in-store shopping, its acquisition by Mike Ashley, and a plan to expand the Belong Arena brand that seems to be whittling on the vine right now have all culminated in this announcement. It’s a sad day when any high street loses a gaming store and hopefully, this isn’t the start of more serious culls. Our thoughts go out to the staff who are unfortunate enough to be involved.