Supermarkets become indie ‘distributors’

Independent retailers have turned to the likes of Tesco and Asda to secure cheaper stock in favour of the usual distribution channels.

Described as ‘Tesco Distribution’ from within the trade, indies have been making the most of the supermarkets to make up for their low allocation of products such as Nintendo’s in-demand Wii Fit.

We tend to use supermarkets,” said Ninja Games’ Martin Sharpe. They sell stock cheaper than the distributors and, more to the point, they actually have stock available. Recently we haven’t been able to get any Xbox 360 Arcades, so we had to go to the supermarkets.

Going for a deal such as the recent Argos deal on Xbox 360 Pro, which included five games for 179.99, can make us up to 60 more than going through traditional distribution.”

CHIPS’ Don McCabe also sees the financial benefit of buying from supermarkets.

I don’t like doing it, but I’m often forced to buy elsewhere. The new LEGO Indiana Jones is a case in point as it’s cheaper to buy it for 29.99 from GAME than it is to get it from Centresoft, and indies can trade in unwanted stock against it too.”

I know several indies who get all their new stock from supermarkets. It’s a shame because it skewers sales figures, as games are sold once through supermarkets and again through indies.”

However, not all indies have adopted the new trend, and Gamespod’s Gordon Crawford feels it’s only really done in protest of high distributor prices. I think a lot of independents are doing it in protest. It’d perhaps be better if the indies formed a buying group and put more pressure on the distributors that way."

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