Woolworths demise robs UK of third largest games retailer

The UK faces losing its third biggest video games retailer in the wake of the Woolworths collapse, representing an annual market value of 137 million, MCV understands.

Figures from market analyst firm TNS Global show that sales of video games at Woolworths accounted for 8.2 per cent of the total UK market for the week ending November 9th 2008 – slightly down from the 8.5 per cent slice it captured in the 52 weeks ending October 14th 2007.

Only GAME and Gamestation were worth more to the UK market in the last 12 months, with GAME capturing a 21.8 per cent share (down from 27.9 per cent a year before) and Gamestation 10.6 per cent (up from 10.4 per cent in previous year).

Furthermore, TNS predicts that the specialist High Street duo will be the two main beneficiaries of Woolworths’ demise – though fellow chains Argos, HMV, Amazon, Asda and Tesco are also set to benefit.

TNS said: In the console games market, GAME and Gamestation look to be the key winners of Woolworths’ demise in 2009 based on buyers’ current residual spend.

Given the high female percentage of Woolworths’ customers, it might also be expected that Tesco, ASDA and Argos could expect to make gains as these retailers’ customers have similar demographics.

"Woolworths’ console games market share is traditionally highest in July and September each year, making this the key time for retailers to attempt to lure ex-Woolworths shoppers.”

Kim Bayley, director general of the Entertainment Retailers Association, also offered her assessment on the chain:

Woolworths has been a historic institution – it filled a gap
between the supermarkets and entertainment specialists for years. It’s a real shame that it’s gone. Having said that, it’s demise was the most expected of the High Street. It found it increasingly difficult to compete with the supermarkets’ value chart at one end, and the power of the specialists at the other.”

ERA estimated Woolworths’ UK games market share at seven per cent.

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