UK GAME retailer GAME – the only dedicated store of its kind on Britain's high street these days and the only store ready to receive socks as payment – has said it "intends to close" 40 stores on what makes it a "strategic plan".
The chain – which has occupied a few complexes for the past decade and is owned by Sports Direct, as well as its Belong sub-chain – has already issued notices to 27 stores, including stores in Mansfield, Canterbury, Watford, and Glasgow Fort, Leicester, Derby, Norwich Chapelfield, Lakeside, Bexleyheath and Carmarthen (it is noted that in some cases, like Leicester, GAME closes one of the two stores in the area). The seller said it would give notice on "additional sites" soon.
Ironically, a statement released yesterday alongside the notice appears to suggest that some stores could be saved from the ax:
We are working closely with landlords across the UK to ensure that we do not have to move out of 40 areas which could result in the loss of many jobs. However, we are facing a challenging retail market and a GAME with its large sales length, needs to be reorganized and landowners need to work with us in planning a reasonable, fair tax.
Back in July of last year, GAME's parent company Sports Direct expressed serious concern over the business's ability to survive the next few years in sports marketing (thank you, Eurogamer):
Getting the GAME and Belong right trading concepts will also require a higher level of flexibility than proven possible under the current partnership agreement. In a challenging market, a partnership agreement is simply good enough to address the problems GAME is facing as an independent business.
The ever-changing and increasing shift in digital gaming and game distribution will have a major impact on the physical game marketers. The retail market is shaken with examples of businesses that failed to adapt quickly enough to change consumer demands. Sports Direct believes that GAME needs to be unique and prove its future product validation if it is to work with technological advancements and ensure that they are of no use to customers.
GAME started managing back in 2012, with OpCapita buying the company out of management the same year. The company partnered over the next few years, with Sports Direct finally owning the company with a $ 52 million acquisition in June 2019.
GAME's action follows news that GameStop sponsoring EG Games is closing 19 stores in Australia.