UK video game chain GAME have announced their intention to close 40 stores up and down the country as part of what they refer to as a “rationalisation programme”.
Notice has been served to the landlords and owners of 27 store so far, including Mansfield, Canterbury, Watford, Glasgow Fort, Leicester, Derby, Norwich Chapelfield, Lakeside, Bexleyheath and Carmarthen.
They note that the stores affected are primarily using rented space from landlords Intu and New River, with the move seemingly trying to force their hand and lower GAME’s operating overhead. Should the landlords give in, some or all of the 40 stores could be remain open.
A GAME spokesperson said, “We are working closely with landlords throughout the UK to ensure that we do not have to vacate the 40 locations which could lead to a number of job losses. However, we are facing a challenging retail market and GAME with its extensive retail footprint, needs to restructure and landlords need to work with us in setting realistic, fair rents.”
This comes half a year after being bought by Frasers Group for £52 million in June 2019. Owned by Mike Ashley, it also includes other notable high street chains such as Sports Direct and House of Fraser, with Ashley having a habit for picking up struggling retailers and making bullish business moves afterwards. He’s previously said that he wants to open branches of GAME inside Sports Direct and House of Fraser stores, but it seems that cuts ended up being the first order of business.
The news comes just a day after a much more lighthearted attempt to drum up custom, with GAME offering extra cash on trade-ins when also bringing a pair of unwanted socks left over from Christmas. Those socks are worth a bonus £2 for every game and £15 for electronics, with the socks then being donated to homeless charities.
The move will see GAME’s presence drop to 213 stores, down from the 253 listed on their website (which actually claims to have more than 300). While still a significant number of stores, it’s now fallen even further chain’s position before its 2012 administration, where they had 609 stores in the UK. Our thoughts are with those employees affected.
Source: press release