Two Game stores in Bristol to close - though others could be saved
THE administrators who have taken charge of collapsed firm Game have revealed they are to close two shops in the Bristol area but are hopeful of saving the rest.
As reported in the Evening Post the company which sells computer games and consoles called in the administrators after it got into severe financial difficulties.
Yesterday the administrators announced they are to close the Game branches in Cabot Circus and Weston-super-Mare with the loss of around 20 jobs.
The administrators are closing more than 200 shops across the country with the loss of around 2,000 jobs. But there are hopes that the rest of the chain can be saved and a buyer found.
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Game also owned stores in the Galleries, Cribbs Causeway and Yate. It also owned the Gamestation brand which has a store Broadmead.
The company had been badly affected by a slump in demand before Christmas and competition from the supermarkets and internet companies.
Mike Jervis, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: “The recent job losses are regrettable but will place the company in a stronger position while we explore opportunities to conclude a sale. My team and I will be doing all we can to help the affected employees at this difficult time.”
It is believed that there is a consortium of bankers interested in buying the slimmed down chain out of administration.
A consortium of existing banks led by state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland is understood to be among three potential bidders, along with American rival Gamestop and OpCapita, which recently acquired the electronics business Comet.
Mr Jervis said he believes that there is still room for a specialist video games retailer in the UK despite the difficult conditions it has suffered in recent months and remains hopeful the business can be sold as a going concern.
Game, which also employs about 385 staff at its headquarters in Basingstoke, Hampshire, last week said it planned to appoint an administrator, having admitted there was no value left in the company.
The chain’s demise follows a string of profit warnings and the decision by nervous suppliers, including Electronic Arts and Nintendo, not to go on providing new games.
The retailer had a £21 million rent bill due yesterday and faces a £12 million wage bill this weekend, although PwC is expected to honour any wages owed.
There is also £10 million in VAT and £40 million owed to suppliers.
Game suffered a dismal Christmas and was later forced to ask suppliers for more generous trading terms.
But many stopped supplying it with new releases, such as Mass Effect 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken, leaving fans disappointed and adding to the group’s problems.
Game agreed fresh lending facilities with banks last month and began seeking access to alternative sources of funding at the start of this month.
The group has already signalled that losses for the year to the end of January are likely to be around £18 million.