Somerfield has unveiled a shock warplan to become a leading games retailer – as fellow supermarkets Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s aggressively expand their buying teams in a bid to grab more market share.
In yet another new route to market for UK publishers, The Co-operative, which bought Somerfield for £1.5 billion last year, has placed video games in over 100 of its UK stores – with plans to expand the range into its biggest outlets this summer.
The Co-Op owns 3,000 grocery stores nationwide and is the fifth largest supermarket chain in the UK. Morrisons’ distributor, MBL, is servicing the firm’s games offering.
“We introduced video games to 60 large Somerfield stores at Christmas and they have been very popular with our customers,” said a company spokesperson. “We now sell DS and PS2 games, and this has been expanded into around 100 stores. We plan to roll out this supply to other larger Somerfield stores in the next few months.”
Meanwhile, Asda has revealed that its buying team has jumped from four to 14 employees – as it aims to become the UK’s largest non-specialist video games retailer.
“We now have supply and distribution teams, and a merchandise planning function,” explained games buying manager Duncan Cross. “Without a middle-man, we can really trade aggressively. Every retailer is seeing games as the growth engine. This is a highly competitive industry, but ‘bring it on’ is our message.”
Elsewhere, Tesco has added ex-EUK stalwarts Mark Burgess and John Stanhope to its games team as it goes on the prowl for more market share. Sainsbury’s has promoted Gurdeep Hunjan to games manager, and hired ex-EUK staff Chris Cahill and Nick Arran as senior buyers.