Tuesday, March 20, 2018

News: Game over for retailer's remaining Rotherham store

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Having been given an extra life in 2012, video game retailer, GAME, has closed its store in Rotherham town centre.

The national High Street chain holds the highest market share in the retailing of console gaming hardware, software, accessories and digital products in the UK.

GAME had operated 641 stores before entering administration in 2012 following rapid expansion and difficult trading conditions. It was acquired by OpCapita (Elliott Management Corp) and went on to close the Rotherham store at Parkgate that year whilst later rebranding the GameStation store at All Saints' Square in the town centre.

The remaining Rotherham store was being emptied of games, consoles, accessories and gadgets this week.

Rejoining the stock exchange in 2014, the retailer has continued to struggle. It posted a £10.4m loss for the 12 month period to July 2017. Sales have been boosted since following the launch of the Nintendo Switch.

Holding company, Game Digital plc, issued a profit warning last year and has put in place new strategies based on optimising its store network, selling online and diversifying into new areas such as e-sports.

Mike Ashley snapped up a stake of more than 25% in the retailer and work is taking place on creating concessions in Sports Direct sites, as well as with electronic retailer, Maplin, which has since entered administration.

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Other national retailers that have left Rotherham town centre in the last 12 months include Primark, New Look, Thorntons and Poundstretcher.

23% of floor space in the town centre area was classed as vacant at the end of 2017 and Rothbiz reported last week on how Rotherham Council is considering incentives in an effort to attract businesses into the town centre.

In optimising the store estate, GAME has been negotiating leases on improved terms and 20 stores closed or relocated in 2016/17. The company said last year that 70% of its UK store portfolio was to be reviewed by the end of calendar 2018.

As part of the review, Rotherham's store has closed, like others in towns such as Derby, Grimsby, Harrogate and Bournemouth. The brand now operates around 300 stores and had an annual rent and rates bill of around £31.1m.



The plc explained that its UK action plan, launched in 2016, "remains a key focus for the business." A spokesperson added: "Considerable attention continues to be given to the review of our store footprint and reducing property costs wherever possible. Almost 40 lease renewals have been renegotiated on improved terms during the last 12 months and where proposed new lease terms have not been acceptable, the group has relocated to lower-cost premises.

"We are also exploring opportunities to open new concession locations where lower cost of occupation and more flexible terms can be agreed."

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Rothbiz reported in 2016 that plans had been submitted for the vacant bank at 16 - 20 College Street, adjacent to the GAME store, that would enable a restaurant and bar to operate over 5,000 sq ft of floorspace on the basement, ground and first floor.

Game Digital plc website

Images: HRH Retail

2 comments:

Anonymous,  March 20, 2018 at 4:39 PM  

Rothbiz ,
What ever happened to the plans for the adjacent restaurant and bar that you mentioned ? Also is there any word as to what’s happening to the old cross keys pub ?

Tom,  March 20, 2018 at 5:34 PM  

The application was passed but I have a feeling it was an attempt by the building owner to get more interest from prospective tenants.

The cross keys was sold at auction in 2016 as far as I know. I've not seen any plans come in for it and it has remained boarded up.

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