IRUK 500

Game Digital updates on multichannel strategy

Game Digital updated investors on its multichannel strategy, among other areas, as it reported falling sales and profits.

It reported sales of £782.9m in the year to July 29, down by 3.6% on the £812.5m reported in the previous year. Pre-tax losses of £10m were down from a profit of £1.1m at the same time last year. The retailer said that the UK market was challenging in the first half, but that its performance in Spain was positive, with sales up by 22.5%. It launched a transformation programme during the year in order to improve customer focus and competitiveness.

Chief executive Martyn Gibbs said that despite “disappointing” financial results, the company had made solid strategic progress in a volatile retail environment, and that the UK console market had returned to growth in the second half of the year, following the launch of the Nintendo Switch, and after two years of decline.

“Against this market backdrop, our priorities remain unchanged,” he said. “Across the group we are focussed on maximising the opportunities from our core retail markets by delivering a compelling and constantly improving customer proposition, realising further operational efficiencies and driving the continued transformation of the business, as we transition our business from a leading retailer of boxed products to a leading provider of physical and digital gaming products, services and experiences.”

Here’s what the retailer said about its multichannel strategy.

Shopping across channels

The retailer said improvements to its multichannel proposition were aimed at making “shopping with us even more convenient”. Those included the expansion of delivery options, with the addition of in-store ordering and a click and reserve option added to its existing click and collect service. Some 8% of total online sales came via click and collect during the year, a figure that’s expected to grow in future.

The retailer said that it had a lower market share online than offline, and that its total share of the video games market reduced to 29% over the year, from 32% previously. But it said its investment in online, mobile and app channels had resulted in rising market share, customer orders and conversion. It is now working with Maplin to introduce concessions to some of the technology retailer’s stores.

Digital sales grew by 16.8% to £128.7m during the year, while sales through its marketplace grew by 35% in value to about £4m.

Innovation

Game has focused on pioneering local competitive gaming, through its Belong in-store gaming arenas, which are now in 18 UK stores, with plans to open in Spain as well. The retailer now plans to prioritise its focus on experience-based esports and competitive gaming, and is looking to open new Belong venues both in within and outside its existing estate.

Loyalty

Game’s loyalty programme marks its 20th anniversary this year, and now operates in the UK and Spain. Some 4.5m Game Reward members shopped with the retailer in its latest financial with 65% of transactions linked to the loyalty scheme in the uK, and 78% in Spain.

“As well as encouraging greater brand loyalty, the schemes provide valuable insight into our customers and their shopping preferences,” said Game in its full-year results. “This insight helps us continuously refine, improve and personalise our offer and communications, driving increased sales and margins which also benefits our suppliers.”

In May, Game launched Game Elite, a subscription-based membership scheme for UK customers, with extra benefits and rewards. The scheme, it said, “has been a central pillar of our refreshed ‘customer first’ retail strategy in the UK, intended to attract and retain customers and increase lifetime value.”

It said the new Elite membership scheme had proved popular with customers, with more than 60,000 memberships added so far and that it had helped to recruit new customers and increase frequency and spend of previous loyalty scheme members. Overall, more than one million customers in the UK and PSain signed up to Game Reward programmes, including Game Elite, during the year.

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