US games retailer heads for UK

After years of speculation, a major US games retailer has finally promised to take on GAME in the UK – and the shock news is it’s not GameStop.

Play N Trade, which boasts that it is the fastest-growing specialist chain over the pond, has unveiled a battleplan that could see it launch its first store here by the end of this year.

The franchise-based company told MCV it didn’t fear the ‘outdated’ UK competition – and claimed that it can single-handedly push the market forward.

The US is definitely ahead in the games retailing arena,” Play N Trade CEO Roger Lloyd told MCV. Our in-store design is very cutting-edge, and our training, support and customer service is second-to-none.

Our entry point into the UK will move the evolution of games stores forward faster. We’re going to raise the bar.”
Lloyd added that Play N Trade is confident that it will eventually have outlets all over the UK”, and that nothing will stand in the retailer’s way – including GAME’s foothold on the market.

GAME has a very strong presence in the UK and beyond, but I like competition,” he said. GAME will have to adapt to Play N Trade – we will push them to new heights. Ultimately, the consumer will win out.

There’s no reason why, if we go in with a strong business plan and get the right people, right relationships and right distribution model, we can’t come in and have the same growth as we have seen in the US.”

Play N Trade – which has over 100 stores in the US – plans to open its first UK outlet in the second quarter of 2009. But it told MCV that if the perfect ‘master franchisor’ – or middleman between the US office and UK stores – comes forward, it could launch over here much sooner.

If we find a very strong, qualified retailer that could be our master franchisor, we’ll move in even faster,” said Roger Lloyd. The key is getting the right person who’ll carry the brand, maintain our culture and maintain the feel of the company.”

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