Game reports sales up, cites PS3 effect

The European launch of the PlayStation 3 gives the retail chain a big boost in sales for the first six months of 2007.

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At its annual general meeting, UK-based retailer Game has released its latest financials, which show a 74.1 percent increase in total group sales for the year to June 30. Like-for-like group sales (which excluded those from Gamestation) were up 45.6 percent.

The total sales for the company's 629 stores in the UK and Ireland (including the 219 Gamestation stores which were acquired in May) were up 71.1 percent, with like-for-like sales up 46.6 percent. Outside the UK, where the company has a total of 408 game stores and 28 franchise outlets, total sales were up by 82.8 percent, and like-for-like sales up 42.6 percent.

Game attributed much of this sales increase to the release on March 23 of Sony's PlayStation 3. The console came to Europe after first arriving in Japan on November 11, and the US on November 17. The console, which also launched in Australasia on March 23, additionally gave international sales a small boost. Game's report stated that if sales of the next-generation console were excluded from the sales figures, then like-for-like figures dropped to a 24.6 percent rise (from 46.6 percent) in the UK and Ireland, and to 20.1 percent (compared to 42.6 percent) rise internationally.

The company's acquisition in May of rival retail gaming chain Gamestation for £74 million (approx $147 million) is currently under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading, standard practice in a deal such as this. Game expects the initial review into the transaction to be completed by the end of July.

GAME stated that all formats were in strong demand, particularly Nintendo's Wii, despite the console continuing to suffer from supply problems since its launch in December. Even with the company's acquisition of Gamestation, the UK market continues to be "very competitive," as other retailers expand their video games departments.

The company expects the group to report a net profit before tax of between £1 million to £3 million ($2 million to $6 million) for the period to July 31, not including costs in relation to buying Gamestation. It also reiterated its expansion plans to grow its current 1,065 stores by another 50--mainly outside of the UK.

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