GAME: Our market favours the specialist

In a presentation entitled "Dedicated to Gaming", GAME Group CEO Ian Shepherd has outlined his strategy for growth in the coming years, claiming that the specialist games retailer will not succumb to the same problems that have beset other entertainment sectors.

"The games market is different to books, DVD and electricals," he stated. "There are structural product differences that favour the specialist. That was reflected in the Christmas trading period. Customers chose to buy product from someone who knows about it. We outperformed the market.

"On the other hand, those strengths could be our greatest weakness if they lead to complacency. Great businesses are brave enough to reinvent themselves. GAME’s customers and the games business is changing. The industry is changing because customers demand it."

In a brave start to his speech, Shepherd acknowledged the doubts that some industry observers have over the viability of traditional games retail. He in fact believes that retail is in a unique position to "aggregate" the increasingly fragmented games market for the consumer.

"It’s important to acknowledge the concerns people have about the business," he confessed. "Supermarkets, online, competition, direct selling, smartphones, new channels etc. They are risks and challenges, but there’s an opportunity.

"The market is getting more confusing. That creates as opportunity for the aggregator, the expert, the guide. In the games market today there is not that guide across the whole breadth of the market. By deploying our strengths we can position ourselves as that aggregator."

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