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GAME Digital loses CFO

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GAME Digital has reported that its Chief Financial Officer Benedict Smith is to step down, following half year results that were ahead of expectations in terms of profit before tax, but leave the retailer cautious for the second half.

The video games retailer, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange in June last year, has said that Smith will exit his role later this year to join a private equity-backed business. The announcement on Smith’s departure comes as GAME posted a 1.8% decline in pre-tax profits to £33.2m for the 26 weeks to January 24. Revenues for the period hit £582.1m, a slide of 0.7% on the previous year.

Management had already prepared investors for a discouraging performance after the retailer struggled with “intense competition” during the Christmas trading period but it was hoped that EBITDA would, at least, be “broadly in line” with last year.

Despite experiencing “challenging conditions” over the festive season, Martyn Gibbs, Chief Executive Officer said he remains “confident” in Game’s strategy.

For Smith, he had only praise, citing: “Benedict has been a key member our management team which has transformed GAME, achieved a successful IPO and driven forward our strategy of being at the heart of the gaming community. Benedict leaves the business in a strong financial position and though he will be with us for a few more months, I and all the team would like to take this opportunity to wish him well in his future role.”

He added: “GAME has revealed the video games market in the UK has started 2015 slower than anticipated, but claims it continues to maintain strong market share and expects UK sales to pick up in the coming weeks due to promotional campaigns at Easter and the launch of a number of blockbuster games. In the first half of the year we continued to make good progress on our strategic priorities. We achieved strong revenue and market share growth in digital sales. We have taken important steps in our strategy to broaden our offer beyond purely retail.”

Our focus for the second half is to deliver on our trading targets and to continue to push forward our strategic initiatives, including further developing our digital strategy and broadening our engagement with gaming communities through technology, events and eSports following our acquisition of Multiplay”

Smith joined GAME in January 2013, his previous roles include the CFO of Comet and the CFO of Spirit Pub Company.

Published on Tuesday 24 March by Veebs Sabharwal

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