When Game stores first launched in the UK high streets, they brought with them ‘death for the little guy’. Now, in turn, the overall workings of the game-buying market have created a situation where Game’s existence seemed to be at an end, until a white knight rode in. KitGuru leaves the round table for a quick look.
Unable to find the £85m necessary to cover its debts to the bank, Game stores across the country put up ‘Closing Down’ signs last week. Now, at the 11th hour, it seems that a rescue package has been found and 56 of the stores will be saved. Price Waterhouse Coopers (Deloitte Haskyns and another 50 former brands) is the administrator called in to oversee Game and it seems happy with the deal.
That still means that more than 2,000 staff will have to update their CVs and hope that Computer Exchange is hiring.
OpCapita is the name of the group on the white stallion. Formed in 2006, it specialises in the retail, consumer and leisure markets. OpCapita is backing a take over from Baker Acquisitions and it gives the banks a chance to get some money back, so that’s good then. Everyone has been glowing at how amazing the deal is.
“We are pleased to have reached agreement with the Administrator. We strongly believe there is a place on the high street for a video gaming specialist and GAME is the leading brand in a £2.8 billion market in the UK. We have assembled a strong team of experienced industry operators to implement the programme of operational change that is needed. There is a huge amount to do but we look forward to the challenge of restoring GAME’s fortunes in partnership with its employees and suppliers.”
Mike Jervis, Administrator to The GAME Group plc and PwC partner added, “We are delighted to be able to secure this business sale and provide some much needed stability for customers, suppliers and employees alike in these uncertain times. The support of these stakeholders has been crucial over the last week and I would like to thank them for their support throughout this difficult period. This means that the GAME brand will not be another one of the retail names disappearing from the high street in the current difficult climate”.
It’s funny when they talk about a business not “Disappearing from the high street” when they actually mean “Not from the bank’s balance sheet”.
KitGuru says: What an amazing world we live in. Computers everywhere and record sales for the big games – and yet a store specialising in this market cannot survive. We’re hearing bad things about Micro Anvika and good things about HMV though – more on those retailers shortly.