Blockbuster: We are serious about games

Blockbuster is on a charm offensive with the UK games industry.

The company wants to be taken seriously as a major video games retailer.

Blockbuster UK fell into administration in January, shedding hundreds of stores. But the brand, plus 264 outlets, were rescued by Gordon Brothers Europe last month The firm’s new MD, former HMV director Gary Warren, says the plan now is to grow Blockbuster’s retail presence and rely less on the company’s rental business.

We need to maintain the rental stronghold that we have. But we need to grow our retail,” he told MCV.

Entertainment was a 4bn business last year in the UK market, and we feel we have a part to play in that. I bring 25 years of retail experience, predominantly from entertainment, and hopefully I will be able to mentor the business and the individuals within it.

Looking at the geography of our stores, we are already seeing that we have locations where Blockbuster is king. There is no GAME. There is no HMV. We definitely need to grasp the opportunity.”

Warren has already arranged meetings with major video game suppliers and has expressed a desire to team up with Microsoft and Sony on the upcoming new Xbox and PlayStation 4.

He added: We have an ambition to be much more of a partner to the games industry in the UK and less passive. We want more voice. We want the games industry to know us and to be key to plans. We want our suppliers to feel we have channels that are available to them which they can’t get from our rivals. We are serious about games at Blockbuster.

Our games buyer James Morton asked me when I joined: ‘Gary, are we staying in games?’ And I replied: ‘Of course. It’s a no brainer. It’s in our DNA.’ I see an opportunity, by working with suppliers, to bring some theatre, certainly in the larger stores. If you think about games, the brands, the excitement and the passion around gaming, we need to bring some of that to life in the stores.”

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