WHSmith completes games retreat

WHSmith has finally pulled out of games retail.

The chain confirmed to publisher product managers this week that games buyer Graham Pert has moved to another area in the business, now looking after online.

Ditching games comes after years spent battling skilful rivals in entertainment. Games have been a staple of WHS’ range for 30 years – it arguably pioneered selling them on the High Street – but in recent times market share dropped to single digits.

The chain first confirmed to MCV a year ago that it would reduce its games range as part of a product overhaul. Since then it constricted games to just over 100 stores.

WHSmith has over 550 stores nationwide, but has struggled to compete with music downloads, while its games offer suffered following the collapse of EUK and increased competition from the likes of GAME and HMV.

Our withdrawal from the CD and games market is a natural step in the implementation of our strategy to reduce our presence in entertainment and focus instead on our core categories,” a WHSmith spokesperson told MCV.

We have always said that we intend to provide a convenience offer in this category and this continues to be our plan. Following these changes, we will continue to offer a range of DVDs in over 340 WHSmith stores. We only stocked music and multimedia in 103 stores last Christmas.”

WHSmith will now focus on core products like magazines and stationery – but it will continue to stock a range of video game point cards and iTunes gift vouchers.

The WHS-branded entertainment website run by The Hut Group at whsmithentertainment.co.uk will also continue to operate.

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