Another supermarket sweep?

Another supermarket sweep?
It’s the news that no indie wants to hear. With the top three supermarkets doing very nicely out of games, another major grocer has cottoned on to the potential of the sector – implementing a competitive range and a host of deals cheap enough to turn its rivals Asda-green with envy.

Morrisons has trebled its games offering in many of its biggest stores in the last year, which has put the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket in a position to substantially – and rapidly – grow its market share in 2007. And according to the chain’s senior entertainment buyer Richard Searling, that’s exactly what it intends to do.

“In the last 12 months we have extended the space that we devote to games chart products and consoles from one bay to three bays in 95 of our top stores,” he says. “We have also introduced a range of DS chart games into all stores that stock software, and we have extended the chart size of our Xbox 360 product. Selected larger stores also now have a PS2 low price chart offering.”

Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s market growth on games hasn’t gone unnoticed by Morrisons, and the Bradford-based company is keen to redress the balance. “We are fully committed to remaining competitive at all times on all products,” explains Searling. “As our available space is typically less than in other retailers we do have to work smartly and are therefore very selective about the titles we take. However, we do support all the key formats with credible chart offerings for each and we have run very strong special offers on PC, PS2 and Xbox titles.”

Morrisons’ recent successful promotions have included Xbox games for just £5.99, as well at cut price deals on PS2, Xbox 360 and PC chart software – with recently released software marked down as little as £20.

123 of Morrisons’ larger stores also stock hardware in the shape of PS2, PSP, Xbox 360 and DS – and the firm is fighting to grab as much PS3 stock as it can. “We plan to expand our entire games range over the next year,” says Searling. “The key range change this year will be to accommodate Sony PS3 consoles and a selective PS3 chart games offering. All of our new build stores for 2007 will have the largest size games offering we’ve ever installed.”

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