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Call of Duty: Black Ops aids Game's recovery

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The launch of gaming titles such as Call of Duty Black Ops and Fifa 2011 have helped Game Group make good like-for-like (LFL) sales progression in the last ten weeks.

Figures from the Association of UK Interactive Entertainment and GfK-Chart-Track show that the new Fifa and Call of Duty offerings sold 684,000 and 1.4 million units respectively in the 24 hours after launching, with the latter becoming the UK’s fastest selling video game ever.

And Game revealed today that it has maintained a leading market share, including for these two key titles, during the 44 weeks to December 4th.

In an interim management statement, Chairman of the retailer Peter Lewis said LFL sales in the UK and Ireland were down 12.2 per cent during the period, which is a 2.6 per cent improvement on the figure reported after the first 14 weeks of this financial year.

Although overall group LFL trading is down by 7.9 per cent, this is better than the ten per cent decline predicted by Investec Securities retail analysts David Jeary and Katharine Wynne ahead of today’s announcement.

A report produced by the pair said: “As always, the performance of Game over the next few weeks will be critical to the full-year outturn.

“The improving LFL trend remains encouraging, supported by recent peripheral and software launches, albeit offset by the new gross margin guidance.

“Despite a likely trim of around five per cent to our FY11E PBT, we continue to believe that considerable risk is already priced in the shares and that Game has time and scope to realign its resources over the medium-term and will be a longer-term beneficiary of new 4G hardware platforms.”

Lewis called recent trading activity “encouraging”, but he is aware that the important sales period for the retailer is the next four weeks, when historically 25 per cent of the business’s annual revenues are generated.

He commented: “As we enter the key Christmas period, we have seen some positive indicators in the market.

“Strong and innovative products are launching well, there is a record installed base of consoles in each of our territories, and customers are responding positively to our specialist offer.

“However, the ongoing weakness in the market performance of hardware and casual gamer products means that we are maintaining our cautious outlook for the remainder of the current financial year.”

Published on Wednesday 08 December by Editorial Assistant

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