Indie retail booms as recession bites

The country’s leading indies plan to expand their ranges and open new stores in a bid to defy the recession and capitalise on the demise of Woolworths.

Grainger Games continues its rapid expansion this month as it prepares to open its 22nd store, while secondhand specialist Game Player is about to open its fourth shop, with the prospect of four more to come.

The new store opening is imminent,” said Game Player boss Gary Noakes.

I am also in talks over four more, but that’s yet to be confirmed. And looking at supplying a phone unlocking service to all indies.”

N1 Games is another looking to grow. Store manager Sam Semaan explained: Our business is defiantly up, and this is because one of our competitors is out of the way. Since Woolworths has closed we have been working our hardest to give the best price possible to our customers.”

MCV also understands that other independents are looking to capitalise on empty High Street stores by moving premises, while others such as 1UP Games in Edinburgh are beefing up ranges to include DVD, action figures and comics.

Game Guide editor Chris Ratcliff says the economy has forced many to be more cost effective: I don’t think there has been an increase in the overall number of indies, more an adjustment of their ranks.

"There was an increase in the number of enquiries for the Game Guide in the early part of the year, as the vacuum caused by the demise of some of the High Street encouraged individuals to consider opening shops. Hopefully, indies will use this summer to conduct an overhaul of their businesses and adjust to the decrease in the spending money available to the general public.”

To see the Top 20 UK Indies feature in full, click on the links below:
Part One
Part Two

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