UK retail braced for summer of woe

The number of specialist games retailers is in free fall as the crisis on the High Street deepens.

And the situation is only going to get worse over the summer, warn analysts, with many expecting a significant rise in the number of empty High Street units.

MCV can reveal that at least 85 specialist game stores have shut in the past 12 months. 19 GAME and Gamestation stores have closed, leaving 622 remaining.

The retailer has announced its store count will drop to 550 by Christmas 2013.

HMV has shut over ten per cent of its outlets since July 2010, bringing its store count down to 250 from 280.

Meanwhile, rental giant Blockbuster has closed 28 stores year-on-year – it now has 591 left open.

Dixons – which owns PC World and Currys – saw its overall store count drop from 700 to 650.

The number of indie retailers is also dropping, although there are still new independent stores opening up. Editor of pre-owned bible Game Guide Chris Ratcliff expects the situation to worsen over the summer.

The general trend is downwards and the summer period will shake the tree a bit more but there are always new people giving it a try,” he told MCV.

One exception to the trend is Grainger Games. Its store count has jumped from 28 to 64 in the past year.

Supermarkets are on the rise. Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have opened over 300 stores between them in the past 12 months.

A games retail fact file will appear in next week’s MCV.

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