Game posts 2% boost in like-for-likes over Christmas

Game Christmas
// Overall like-for-likes up 2%, total group sales down 0.5% during Christmas
// UK like-for-likes down 0.3%, total sales up 4.1% over the same period
// Spain outperformed UK in both Christmas and half-year trading periods

Game has posted growth in overall like-for-likes during the crucial Christmas trading season, despite a drop in sales in its UK market.

The video game retailer said overall group like-for-like sales were up two per cent year-on-year during the seven-week Christmas trading period ending January 5, boosted by a 4.8 per cent surge in like-for-likes in its Spanish retail arm.

However, like-for-like sales in its UK retail division slipped marginally by 0.3 per cent during the festive season.

Additionally, total group sales declined 0.5 per cent year-on-year during Christmas – a result of sales dropping by 4.1 per cent sales in the UK while climbing 4.9 per cent in Spain.

Game said its group trading margin rate improved when compared to the same festive period the year prior, which reflected a strong performance from higher-margin exclusive products, an improved mix of higher-margin products and better promotional margins.

For the half-year period ending January 5, Game said overall group like-for-likes increased one per cent year-on-year, with like-for-likes in the UK and Spain performing well thanks to 1.1 per cent and 2.1 per cent growth respectively.

Meanwhile, the retailer’s total group sales for the half-year period dipped 0.6 per cent year-on-year, dragged by a 1.5 per cent decline in the UK while the Spanish arm grew two per cent.

Game said two new in-store Belong gaming arenas opened during the half-year period, and the retailer was continuing to identify new and larger locations for further rollout.

The retailer added that exceptional working capital management delivered improved cash as of January 5, at £96 million. This compares to £89 million last year.

Directors expect Game’s full year financial performance to be in line with expectations.

“Despite a challenging retail climate, the group traded solidly over the Christmas period, with encouraging like for like sales in both territories,” Game chief executive Martyn Gibbs said.

“The group successfully delivered growth from exclusives, higher margin categories and our specialist customer offer over the Black Friday event, which all contributed to a pleasing margin outcome and helped to offset the continued, managed decline of pre-owned.

“Our multichannel focus has delivered both trading margin growth and cost savings, while paid for services, such as multiple delivery options, have been well received by customers.

“Our supplier partners provided a strong line-up of exclusive content for key software releases over the 23 weeks and customer response and sales have been positive.

“The cost transformation programme enacted two years ago in the UK has gathered pace, enabling the group to respond well to market changes and the economic uncertainty.

“We are working closely with landlords to manage down the fixed costs of operating our store portfolio and produce ongoing efficiencies.”

The group unveil more details in its half-year results with an interim report to be published in March 2019.

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