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Game puts the emphasis on the customer experience

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Game Digital today emphasised the importance of customer experiences in its retail business, with news of the first two Belong gaming arenas to be developed through its partnership with Sports Direct.

Game and Sports Direct opened their first new joint Belong arena on August 17, a site with space for around 50 people to play the latest games on the latest hardware, at Westfield Stratford. A second at Lakeside Thurrock will open in September with around 25 spaces. These arenas are bigger than previous arena, which could accommodate an average of 19 gamers, and so, says Game, represent “a significant step forward in our optimisation and expansion of the Belong business”. 

Game’s strategy chimes with a wider trend of giving customers experiences alongside retail products that has been seen at retailers from Evans Cycles, through organised cycle rides, to John Lewis, with a concierge-style approach to department store retailing.

Today Game Digital, a Top50 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said in a year-end trading update that it expected its revenue to be slightly down in its 2018 full financial year, at around £780m, down from £782.9m last year. During the year, it said, it had seen strong but less profitable sales of new digital and hardware products but experienced “continued challenges” in its pre-owned business. 

Game’s strategy has also focused on reducing the costs of its store estate through lease renegotiations and a reorganisation of the head office and distribution centre staff. 

Chief executive Martyn Gibbs said: “We have made further progress in the second half of the year to right-size the UK retail business by reducing the cost base, whilst capitalising on all market opportunities to address the challenges and changes in the UK retail market. This review of costs will continue into the next financial year. Our Spanish business continues to perform well, with strong full year sales performance and sustained management of its efficient operation.

“The existing 19 Belong arenas continue to perform well with all key metrics advancing, a considerable affirmation of the offering. Opening the first two arenas in collaboration with Sports Direct represents a significant step forward as we implement our strategy to increase the availability and scale of Belong, our experience based gaming offer and esports activities.

“The UK and Spanish mint retail markets continue to show growth and we expect tis momentum will continue into our new financial year and the peak trading period, driven by a strong line up of new software releases.”

Image: InternetRetailing Media

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