Ahead of the GAME

Ben Parfitt
Ahead of the GAME
GAME’s latest trading statement was spectacular enough to shoot down the wonky analysis of internet doom-mongers and their ‘High Street is dead’ rhetoric – something the specialist has become quite adept at in recent times.

The stunning set of results, which recorded the 22 weeks to June 30th, showed a group sales rise of 74.1 per cent – and, perhaps more importantly, a 45.6 per cent like-for-like rise for the company when the acquisition of Gamestation was discounted. When compared to the 42 per cent year-on-year growth in industry revenue ChartTrack reported for the first six months of 2007, it’s clear to see that GAME has taken full advantage of a marketplace in rude health.

And according to GAME CEO Lisa Morgan, the company’s achievement is made all the more impressive when its price-obsessed competition is taken into consideration.

“We understand that customers consider price as their number one purchasing consideration, she says. “So we’ve worked really hard on doing our best to communicate some of the other things that we offer. It’s a very competitive marketplace, where many players can rely almost solely on a price message, and the GAME team has done a great job of taking all of the specialist offerings outside of price and interpreting them well for our dedicated customer.”

Despite its refusal to enter into ‘price wars’ with these competitors, GAME has still worked hard to remain competitive – which has had an undoubted effect on its success over the last six months.

“You will traditionally see, on average, that online and supermarkets are pretty much in the realms of £5 to £10 cheaper than specialists,” says Morgan. “There is a definite differential there and it’s led to quite a shift in the marketplace. But general entertainment stores have lost significantly more share than the specialists.”

After swooping for over 50 Maxi-Livres stores in France, a handful of Gameswizards outlets in Australia and a bunch of other strategically-placed retailers, GAME has now increased its interests overseas. Morgan believes that the firm now has real potential to become a leading worldwide power in the near future.

“We’ve made significant progress as a global retailer,” she says. “We added something like 140 stores to the network in the last year, with significant focus on France and Spain. Our Spanish business is well established. Now we needed to build some scale in France.”

And with a raft of top product arriving in the second half of 2007, Morgan is confident that the company can perform even better in the coming months – both at home and abroad.

”Overall growth is important, but it’s our solid like-for-like growth figure that really matters to GAME,” she explains. “We now have a really good base to build on our performance in the second half of 2007.”

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