GAME store future called into question

The GAME store in the Hildreds Shopping Centre, Skegness. Photo by Amy Gallivan.
The GAME store in the Hildreds Shopping Centre, Skegness. Photo by Amy Gallivan.

A SHADOW of doubt was cast over a major chain retailer’s future after details of its struggling finances were released.

But a lifeline has been given to GAME by its banks after it agreed to sell off overseas assets.

In the past year, GAME’s sales have plunged after it was forced to battle with online competitors but it has now been given support from its stakeholders and lenders - despite confirming that it expects to lose £18m before tax for the year to January 31, 2012.

Ian Shepherd, CEO of GAME said “We’re pleased to reach agreement with our lenders, but should be under no illusions about the challenges in our market or the hard work that is required to deliver our strategic plan.”

At the close of Game’s financial year (January 31), a total of 39 stores were closed and although it couldn’t identify which stores are to get the axe next, a total of 60 are set to close by Christmas 2013.

As GAME have announced their long term plans to have 550 stores rather than 610 by Christmas 2013.

However, a GAME spokesperson did say that stores would not be ‘randomly’ closed and towns where branches ‘overlap’ would be most likely.

In terms of Skegness, Glenis Brown chairman of the Skegness and District Chamber of Commerce, thought another shop being lost in the Hildreds would be sad news.

“As GAME are one of the only retailers that sell games in Skegness maybe they will think it’s worth staying because they don’t have as much competition and perhaps they will decide to keep ours. It’s really beginning to bite now and we are seeing some of the multiple shops going, Although we are delighted to have them, perhaps we need to have more quirky individual shops that people like coming to visit that everyone else hasn’t got,” said Glenis.

A spokesperson for The Hildreds said of the empty units: “We benefit from being part of a national network of regional centres and the letting agents are in constant contact with the major retail chains and are alerted to high street opportunities.

“Local and regional lettings are marketed and handled by agents appointed specifically to work for the centre which is well established and in the heart of Skegness.”