GameStop plans to seriously grow its share of the European games market over the next 12 months.
But it will do it through new e-commerce initiatives and alternative store concepts, the global retail giant’s International EVP Mike Mauler has told MCV.
"Right now we have two stores in the UK and several in Ireland," Mauler stated. "We are currently not looking at expanding bricks and mortar in the UK.
"We want to be able to offer customers the buy-sell-trade reward model where we currently are in malls and street stores – but in some countries there aren’t that many real estate opportunities. So we’re looking for ways to grow in markets where it might have been difficult in the past."
GameStop has already launched six new e-commerce sites in Europe this year – and will add lots more in 2011.
“Before 2010, the only e-commerce site we had was our Micro Mania online store in France. Since then we have added Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, Germany and Ireland.
“We will continue to expand that over the next year or so.
“We don’t want to say exactly which countries – but we will expand to places where we have stores and markets where we don’t,” said Mauler.
Which suggests the UK will eventually play host to a local GameStop site – and when it eventually arrives, specialists should be on guard.
Said Mauler: “We have No.1 market share in the majority of the countries we are in. Of course there are markets where we are well established – but in the markets we are newer we are expanding rapidly.”
Mauler ruled out any extra bricks and mortar stores in the mainland UK beyond its two stores in Birmingham. But he said GameStop is already quietly serving UK customers – as we reported earlier in the year following its acquisition of Flash games site Kongregate.
“With a number of our digital businesses we are already in the UK,” he remarked. “A large percentage of Kongregate’s customers are already in the UK, our online gaming business Jolt has a percentage of users in the UK, and our Irish ecommerce business already has a number of customers in the UK.”
So an e-commerce offering along the lines of ‘GameStop.co.uk’, would only take that a step further, it seems.