GAME intends to close 40 stores in the UK, it's confirmed. As of October, GAME had 259 stores and 21 Belong esports arenas in the UK.
GAME said 13 stores have been served notice so far, including sites in Mansfield, Canterbury, Watford, Glasgow Fort and Leicester.
Yesterday, GAME served notice on a further 14 sites, including Derby, Norwich Chapelfield, Lakeside, Bexleyheath and Carmarthen, as part of what it called a "store rationalisation programme". The additional sites will be served notice in the near future, GAME warned.
There's a slightly confusing quote attached to GAME's note to press this evening that suggests the company has yet to decide whether it will leave the 40 locations it's just confirmed it plans to close its stores at (we've asked for clarification).
"We are working closely with landlords throughout the UK to ensure that we do not have to vacate the 40 locations which could lead to a number of job losses. However, we are facing a challenging retail market and GAME with its extensive retail footprint, needs to restructure and landlords need to work with us in setting realistic, fair rents."
Back in October 2019, GAME drafted in property consultancy firm CBRE to work out whether the number of shops it had in the UK needed to change.
According to a report by our sister site GamesIndustry.biz, CBRE said GAME's current stores have an average unexpired lease term of "less than 0.8 years", which makes this a "significant opportunity to restructure the current portfolio". Bet the staff working at GAME will love that language.
When GAME parent company Sports Direct published its full year report in July 2019, it said it didn't think GAME was capable of weathering the industry pressures it faces alone.
"To get the GAME retail and Belong concepts right will also require a higher degree of flexibility than has proven possible under the current collaboration agreement," Sports Direct said. "In a challenged market, the collaboration agreement simply does not go far enough to address the issues GAME faces as a standalone business.
"The structural and escalating shift to digital gaming and game streaming will have a significant impact on physical games retailers. The retail market is littered with examples of businesses that failed to adapt quickly enough to changing consumer demands. Sports Direct believes that GAME needs to diversify and future-proof its product mix if it is to keep up with technological developments and ensure that it does not become irrelevant to customers."