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GAME plans for a multichannel future

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Video games retailer GAME has today outlined plans to grow from “a traditional retail base into a multichannel future.”

Group chief executive Ian Shepherd said: “GAME is on a journey. Our customers have new and different ways to play video games and we need to make sure our business provides everything they want, wherever they want it. Today, no other business does this for the gamer. We plan to be the first.”

The company said the video games market was changing – and that GAME needed to change with it. The market was “tough” with sales of hardware down by 25% in 2010 and software down by 5%. Growth was instead being seen in digital downloads and social gaming, and the pace of change was accelerating. Despite falling sales and profits, GAME had outperformed the market, said outgoing chairman Peter Lewis.

The update came as GAME unveiled its results for the year to January 31 2011. they showed a drop in group turnover to £1.6bn, down from £1.77bn at the same time last year. Pre-tax profits were at £23.1m, down from £84.2m last time. Sales fell across UK and international stores and online. Like-for-like sales, stripping out the effect of store openings and closures, fell by 6.7%, with a 2% decline in online revenues, and a 9.8% fall in its UK and Ireland stores.

In the first 12 weeks of the current year, however, to April 23, like-for-like online sales grew by 2.1%, though group sales were down by 12.1%. The company said its share of the online market had increased to 18% from 13% in February.

The strategy was, said Shepherd, to outperform the market by growing new revenue streams. “I’m encouraged by the good progress we have seen in the early months of this year,” he said, adding: “In the longer term we are putting GAME in the right place to deliver the strongest returns as the industry continues to change and evolve.”

Peter Lewis is being replaced by Chris Bell, who has served on GAME’s board since 2003.

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