back to article Game closes 277 stores

High street retailer Game's administrators started the company shakedown in frantic fashion today, announcing the immediate closure of 277 stores in the UK and Ireland, and suspension of refunds and exchanges, store credit and the company's Reward card scheme. While points can still be earned through purchases in Game's …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Finally...

    ...a story about Game going into administration without the pun "Game Over".

    Shit....

  2. Stu
    FAIL

    Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

    Isn't that against our statutory rights as consumers?

    Store credit and the reward card suspensions is also tantamount to outright theft on their part.

    .

    ...not that I've bought anything there in years but I'd imagine there must be tens of thousands in outstanding credit at least, due to consumers all over the nation.

    1. foxski
      Thumb Down

      Re: Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

      Unfortunately as I understand it your statutory rights mean bugger all when administration kicks in. The company you bought it from technically wont exist in its current form after today. All creditors have to get in line for anything they feel that GAME owe them and as an indivdual consumer we are way down the food chain after suppliers, lawyers, the administrators themselves, etc.

      1. foxski

        Re: Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

        Although warranty of goods could still be taken up with the manufacturer I guess, but any credit someone may have on gift cards etc. is exactly that - credit. COmpany goes under & its worthless

        1. Just Thinking

          Re: Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

          Its a shame people are not more aware of this when buying gift cards. It is an unsecured loan which doesn't pay any interest.

          This same thing happened with Zavvy a few years ago, so it was hardly a bolt out of the blue when Game got into trouble. Why would anyone lend them money for free?

          Yeah, sure, it means you don't have to choose what to buy for that person you love so much.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Down

            Re: Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

            I still have a £20 Zavvi giftcard I got as a Christmas gift, given just after they decided to go into administration on Christmas Eve.

            Boo to them. I see they are now active again with a fresh website, emailed regarding this giftcard, surprise surprise that has been ignored.

            Badly played Zavvi.

    2. irish donkey
      Thumb Up

      Re: Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

      I have a extended guarantee via their game card. I'm worried

      trying to figure out why somebody down voted you on this post. Baffled!

      1. Richard 81

        Re: Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

        "trying to figure out why somebody down voted you on this post. Baffled!"

        Statutory rights are for bleeding heart pinkos... apparently.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: Statutory rights are for bleeding heart pinkos

          Nope, they're the first one to throw them out the door if they don't agree with them. See BO and the GM Bailout where Vendors and Bond holders, who are statutorily next after Banks got short shrift over stock holders and unions.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: Baffled!

        Probably because your wants don't necessarily translate into statutory rights. The very definition of bankruptcy is that you don't have enough assets and income to pay your creditors. At that point a new order of preference comes into play. I would expect rewards cards to be at the very end of that line, not the beginning of it. You haven't paid real money for it. Your credits would be just in front of the rewards cards, working back toward banks being first in line to get their money. The only people who would be behind your rewards card would be the stock holders of the company.

      3. Rob Beard

        Re: Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

        The extended warranty is run by an insurance company separate to Game/Gamestation. It should say on the paperwork who it is underwritten by. My daughter had a DS which a hinge broke on it, I claimed on the extended warranty and they sent a gift card for £40, luckily it arrived before they went into administration so I bought a pre-owned Wii. I'm not sure exactly where you'd stand as the gift cards are now worthless, maybe the insurance company would be able to offer some other sort of compensation (in my case they didn't offer a repair, just a gift card and we got to keep the broken DS).

        Maybe give the insurance company a call and see what you do in the event of a fault.

        Rob

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

      I suspect once it went into administration it became unable to issue credit, reward cards are basically credit and refunds and exchanges could also be forms of credit.

      In theory if the product is defective you can try and get a refund from the manufacturor.

    4. Toothpick

      Re: Suspension of Refunds, Exchanges?

      There may thousands in outstanding credit, but when it comes to who gets paid out first from the carcass of a company, it's my understanding that it's the major creditors (e.g. banks) who get first pickings. Joe Public can be left up crap creek without a reward card.

  3. kevin king
    Thumb Down

    list of closed stores

    http://gamerspy.co.uk/game-and-gamestation-list-of-confirmed-closed-stores

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: list of closed stores

      The Edinburgh and Glenrothes stores. I assume they are ex-Gamestation.

      Used to be great for retro games (Dreamcast/N64) a few years ago, before Game ruined them.

      Quite a lot of Belfast stores (one listed as West Belfast, as if it was a separate city...) including the one that offered me £5 tradein on a sealed unopened copy of Skyrim (an Xmas gift but I had already gotten it as a gift from someone else.)

      1. Shell

        Re: list of closed stores

        The Edinburgh stores were not previously Gamestation as far as I know. We also had a Gamestation here, but that closed last year.

  4. FunkyEric
    Facepalm

    That's why I

    made a point of going in and using up any credit i had on my store card. Only problem with that was I could only spend it in chunks of £2.50 and so wtih what I'd gained by buying the first lot of games (well they were quite cheap) I had gone over the next £2.50 level. Which I then had to go back and spend another day. lol.

    1. Rob Beard
      Unhappy

      Re: That's why I

      This seemed to be a rule at Game, I had the same issue, about £1.50 of credit on my reward card. Gamestation were happy to take the £1.20 credit off my Gamestation reward card though the day after I bought a PSP.

      I don't think I had any credit left on my Gamestation card, if I did it was probably only a couple of pence. I gather the Torquay Gamestation store has closed but the Torquay Game store is still open so I guess I'll pop down at the weekend and see what offers they have on and see if I can build up my Game reward card credit in case they start accepting it later on down the line.

      I really do feel sorry for the poor folks who lost their jobs, I was in the same situation once, went into work (at a largish software retailer back in the late 90's/early 2000's) one day and the administrators were in. We had to do a stock check and then leave.

      Rob

  5. Ben King
    Facepalm

    Too many stores

    Just looking at the list of stores closing and it looks sensible to me.

    In Coventry, Game had 2 branches of Game and a branch of GameStation within 5 minutes walk of each other in the city centre, with the only vaguely viable competition in the form of HMV (that I can think of).

    While I am sure they will lose a bit of HMV its nothing like as much as running 3 stores within very close proximity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too many stores

      Exactly the same in Bolton - 2 GAME stores and a Gamestation within sight of each other. Is it really any wonder that they went under with decisions like that?

    2. Hardcastle the ancient

      Re: Too many stores

      Yes, from the story the total was 610. Woolworths only had 807. I think they had rather outgrown their clientelle possibilities. It is hardly surprising it all went base over apex.

    3. Oliver Mayes

      Re: Too many stores

      Telford is the same, 2 Game stores within 2 minutes walk with a HMV about halfway between them, and a GameStation 2 doors down from one of the Games. Apparently both of our Games are closing leaving only the GameStation.

      1. Shaun 1
        FAIL

        Re: Too many stores

        Stevenage is the same, 2 Games and a Gamestation. If I recall correctly, Leeds is the same, though fairly spread out.

        It never seemed like a good business model to me. I guess I was right.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Too many stores

          Bristol too! Two games, a gamestation and a game franchise in Debenhams, all within a minutes walk from each other. What were the management thinking? It's almost criminally incompetent...

          Reminds me of when Fopp closed. Whenever I was in there there was a queue of people waiting to buy stuff, they couldn't sell it fast enough. Still not making enough to keep it going.

          When they say bricks and mortar is dead for retail it seems to be as much through bad management as through a change in people's buying habits...

    4. Dave Perry

      Re: Too many stores

      Hull too - 1 in Princes Quay (to be closed I read), and another in St Stephens. Less than a mile apart

  6. Fibbles

    RBS planning buy-out

    Just what we need, a bank 84% owned by the British public buying up a bunch of stores likely located right next to another Game store. That combined with rumours that the next gen of consoles will sell most of their software through downloads makes this a very stupid investment surely?

    1. auburnman

      Re: RBS planning buy-out

      It's not an investment, it's a strategy to reduce their losses. I would imagine the 'buy-out' will not cost them anything as they are the de facto owners of the company now anyway. The banks have already lost the majority of the $85M, but if they can restructure the company and sell it on as a going concern, they might get back a (single digit) percentage of what they lost.

      I actually agree it was a dumb investment, but it was made a long time ago when they extended credit to a company that couldn't pay it back.

  7. Canocola

    Game Retailer now available preowned...

    RBS owning a trading rump of Game/Gamestation makes good sense from a business point of view. The business model isn't hopelessly screwed, and won't be until the next generation of consoles are established. It just needs to be managed much better than Game were for the last few years - cut the number of stores to the most profitable one in each town, make sure the staff know their stuff, ensure that customers can order games online in-store if the web price is better or you're out of stock (capture those sales at a reduced margin, rather than have them go home and order it from a competitor), make the customers feel like part of a club or tribe (Gamestation already seem to have a bit of this vibe), and really, really try to find a little time to dedicate to not screwing over the suppliers - maybe scale back the preowned a little bit, eh?

    If they can do all that, they'll turn a bit of a profit again, RBS will get some cash back instead of writing off £80m, and we'll save on dole money for nearly 3,000 staff. That sounds like an ideal outcome for the taxpayer to me.

  8. Stig2k
    Facepalm

    Is it any wonder when . . .

    . . . last week I bought FEAR2 for xbox for £2.98 (Used) then took it back to exchange the next day when it dawned on me I'd already played it. I didn't have the reciept so they couldn't give me a £2.98 credit, instead they took it as a trade in and gave me £6 for it.

  9. Stig2k
    Unhappy

    Oh and another thing . . .

    . . . you dont make people redundant! You make people's JOBS redundant. Its a very important distinction and it really winds me up when people get it wrong.

    1. Chad H.

      Re: Oh and another thing . . .

      I thought Skynet made people redundant.

  10. Kestrix

    Too expensive

    Game and other high street stores are too expensive. Last time I went into Game with the intention of buying a game I saw the game was £8 more expensive than the same title being sold online! I've not been back to a high street store since. Same with DVD's and music, your better off buying them online. RIP high street stores we don't need you any more!

    1. TheProf Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Too expensive

      And when the 'sold from Jersey so there's no VAT' loophole gets closed where are you going to get your fix?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Too expensive

        You don't have to buy everything through Jersey to get a good price online.

        At any rate, should a market become viable there is always someone willing to make the best of it.

        I was fairly sad about game until I'd not been into one of their stores for about five years, up until about two weeks ago as I thought I'd buy SSX... except it was about a fiver more expensive than Amazon.

      2. Amazon Wageslave
        FAIL

        Re: TheProf- Too expensive

        The Jersey VAT issue is irrelevant to games; most new games would have been over the £18 limit.

      3. Dave Bell

        Re: "this is too little, too late."

        I've had the chance to compare prices for the same goods from both the Channel Islands and the High Street, and the price difference is a lot more than the 20% down to VAT. Though sometimes the pricing might be a little lower than the seller would like, because it gets under the limit.

        The VAT exemption is a great thing to scream about, but it's a long way from all the story.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Insert Coins To Continue

    You have to think that it takes a special kind of stupid to be the only national high street computer games retailer and make a balls up of it.

    No doubt they'll blame piracy, online retailers, the recession. But the fact is Game went under because of Game.

    In a gaming market that has expanded greatly and where even my 60 year old mother-in-law has a Nintendo DS which she plays "Brain Training" games on, Games demographic was stuck firmly with spotty teenage boys who need a wash.

    Computer games have never been bigger and yet they managed to royally balls it up. Why have one profitable shop in town when you can open 3 and run all of them at a loss just doors from each other.

  12. Christopher Rogers
    Coffee/keyboard

    No matter what the decisions of Game, they were always pushing a boulder up a hill. Their product is easily picked up online for less, by the very people who know where to look online for the bargains.... And anyway, high street retail is the modern day business 'NAM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      True but there's still impulse purchases on a Saturday afternoon. But last time I went into Game I was totally uninspired. Half the shop was taken up with pre-owned copies of Fifa 2009 and nowhere did they demo the titles. Finally when I picked up the Codemasters F1 game I saw the queue had become so long that I put the game down and made a note to buy it online.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Good point. Seemed to be saturated with Fifa <insert year> all going for 99p because Man Utd changed shirt design, or some overpriced shampoo model is playing for a different team this year.

        Then when browsing, the person would always come up and ask if you needed help - which is an old retail tactic for putting off shoplifters. I'm not about to steal empty cases of Fifa 09!!!

        Did start to feel old the last few times I've been there, when the other browsers/customers were PFYs. HMV at least seems to have a more mature clientele.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    down to one..

    so basically, most cities will be going back down to just one branch of Game immediately... sort of makes sense...we dont have 2 branches of WHSmiths or 2 branches of HMV etc.

    I recently bought 35 quid of games...but that was through the Playstation Store online...so I can see why they are under pressure - i do buy physical media too...but play.com, amazon etc also win here...i think its a business that is really going to have to reinvent itself... they can win out of they go back to being for the customer in special ways like hands on gaming, clubs, leagues etc as well as selling a better range (when i have gone in, none of the titles were in stock...just the big names - which can all be bought online cheap. support the smaller studios who never get discounted as much.

    the trade-on stuff was a killer to - they get a fraction of cash...less new titles sell (and the publisher/studio/developer gets nothing from tradein sales....so its bad generally).

    and GameStation - wow. they were quite good...especially for a collector of retro consoles and games - then they got bought out by Game - how monopolies/mergers never got involved properly I'll never know - they were the only game-only independent - did they think HMV/zavvi/virgin were competitors? really? GameStation needs to go back to its roots - just like Fopp did when they hit the buffers

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: down to one..

      Re Gamestation Retro stock - Wonderful selection. Pity then that after the Game takeover the management sent it all to landfill. I literally weep at the thought of the pristine Vetrex that was in our local store that is now 20 feet underground. Bastards.

      Yes I could have bought it while it was in the window but it was overpriced. But that's not the point.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: down to one..

        Gamestation were great for retro gear. A £20 dreamcast and a bundle of Sonic/driving games saw the winter nights fly in as a cash strapped student (compared to the relatively more expensive then current PS2). Staff were knowledgeable too!

        A shame Game cast them in their own image, last time I was in one Retro meant Fifa 08.

        Cash converters is about the only high street place now for retro gaming, and even then it can be hit or miss (Fifa 64 anyone?), and they never seem to have any staff at the gaming section.

    2. Euchrid

      Re: down to one..

      "and GameStation - wow. they were quite good...especially for a collector of retro consoles and games - then they got bought out by Game - how monopolies/mergers never got involved properly I'll never know - they were the only game-only independent - did they think HMV/zavvi/virgin were competitors? really? GameStation needs to go back to its roots - just like Fopp did when they hit the buffers"

      From what I remember, the merger was cleared because of online selling and price being the most important factor to consumers. The reasoning being that if the new company jacked up prices, punters wouldn’t stand for it – and that Game was thought to keep its prices in line with online retailers (*Nelson laugh*).

      IIRC, the fact that online retail in this area was growing was the *key* deciding factor and the Commission had pretty much discounted (no pun intended) other bricks and mortars stores as offering serious competition for Game. Pretty sure that the deal only just squeaked through.

      Fopp’s big error was rapid expansion - when it took over Music Zone, it just over-extended itself financially (not to mention opening in new stores where it already had a presence – e.g. three in Bristol). Also, I read one or two article that suggested that using the same business model with the Music Zone stores backfired, as it annoyed the existing customer base. These days, a lot of the cheap stock in Fopp can be found for the same price in HMV – it’s nice that it’s still going, but the stock is less eclectic than its glory days and it doesn’t have the same character since HMV took it over.

  14. Andy 70
    Unhappy

    bugger

    and so disappears another mismanaged, repeatedly rebranded, overdue-for-death, hold out of my childhood.

    and £20 off my game card. double bugger.

    best wishes for future endevous to all retail staff. hope you get something out of this, but as we can imagine, probably eff all.

  15. Cosmo
    Meh

    Got to feel for the staff

    The unemployment statistics for young males are bad enough as it is without this happening. GAME is/was a badly run business running shops too close to each other with rubbish stock. However, I do feel sorry for the kids that are lining up at the job centre this morning

  16. Stuart Reid
    FAIL

    RE: Too many stores

    2 in Harrow, less than 5 minutes walk between each other

    3 in Watford, (2 GAMEs, one Gamestation) Gamestation in between the 2 GAME shops. Less than 5 minutes walk between the 2 GAMEs.

    2 in Uxbridge, less than 5 minutes walk between each other.

    Shoulda scrapped half their stores before getting to this point to be honest..

    1. J P
      Unhappy

      Re: RE: Too many stores

      I've heard many insolvency practitioners bemoan the fact that these day's it's cheaper and easier for a small business to go bust than to try to divest themselves of an employee (or more). Now it looks as though a bigger business may have been caught out too. I'm sure it's not the only factor, but it probably played a part in the apparent inertia of management when it came to "streamlining the business model through strategic redeployment of staff (to the jobcentre)".

  17. Tegne
    FAIL

    No wonder they are in trouble when they have their own stores competing with themselves.

    In the Hanley Potteries centre they had 2 stores within a 30 second escalator ride of eachother. Having a look through the list of closing stores it seems like this is a common theme throughout the country. Surely any business manager with an ounce of sense would see this is doomed to failure?

  18. ukaudiophile

    Blackpool - Only one store closure?

    They have only closed the one Game store in the main shopping center in Blackpool, and whilst this is the one with the highest costs being in the major shopping center, they still have a Game Station store nextdoor to a Grainger games store with a HMV less than 5 minutes away and a CEX around the corner. I would have thought with that kind of competition they'd have decided to close both outlets in Blackpool, especially given the low income levels in this area and around 30% unemployment. There simply isn't the money to support this number of stores, and those who do frequent them are the same people who know where to go online for the best deals, undoubtedly frequent fleabay and probably have modded consoles for running backups.

    I'm afraid I don't see a place any longer for games sales on the high street. It's just low earning square footage which could surely be used more profitably.

  19. Great Bu

    The writing was on the wall.....

    I sensed that the writing was on the wall for Game last year when I ordered a game online from their website for store pickup (I was browsing online*, wanted the game and as I was driving home past the shop (one of about seventeen in my town......) I thought I would pick it up to save waiting for the postie ).

    When I arrived at the store to pick it up, I was told it had not arrived yet as I had only ordered it that morning, despite there being about seventy bajillion copies on the shelf in the store. On asking, I was told that I could not have one of the store copies as mine would be sent separately to the shop and that's the one I had to have. It would take about 3 or 4 days for it to come and they would e-mail me when it arrived so I could come and get it.

    So what did I do ? I drove around the corner to Tesco, bought the same game for less money and when Game e-mailed to tell me my ordered copy was ready, went in to the shop, opened the package and immediately returned the game to the shop for a full (in cash at store price, not online price !) refund.

    No wonder they are bankrupt (but it does leave me with £1.85 in Game card points unspent....)

    *I try to do as much of my online shopping at work as possible so as not to waste my own valuable leisure time doing such mundane things.....

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gamestation Glenrothes

    I'll miss you guys..... A Better store than the local Game IMO. Staff always more chatty too, I snaffled up about £60 of bargains when the fire sale kicked off, lucky timing for me in getting a PS3 is that I got a good stash of good games cheaply. Guess my £60 wasn't enough to save the store.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: Gamestation Glenrothes

      Definitely.

      Big up to Gamestation Glenrothes.

      When I lived in Fife in my student days, the guys there kept me right about a Dreamcast and a great package of games, at a great price. Enthusiastic, not just about the latest releases, but gaming as a whole.

      <-- That pints for you guys.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mrs got a le Senza Voucher

    That I will not be enjoying either

  23. Colin Ritchie
    Paris Hilton

    Insert coins to continue.

    Having been an avid gamer since the Atari VCS console first graced my parents living room carpet, in front of the TV in the early 80's, I must have spent a considerable amount of disposable income on gaming through the days of Commodore 64, Atari ST and Amiga battering before finally embracing WoW in 2005 and only playing the one true game ever since. My console loving buddies dragged their couch potato asses down to Game and its ilk to trade and spend on new delights far more than I ever did. The smarter ones went to the local maison de geek (called Playaway) which was cheaper and always on the money for getting the right titles in for the even righter price and always on release day not later.

    My only misadventure with Game was to buy a Gravis joypad that broke within a fortnight. When I tried to return it I was flat refused by the manager who told me to send it to the manufacturer for a replacement. Gravis refused to entertain such behaviour and insisted I return it via the shop. Both refused to budge so the piece of crap went in the bin and I never spent another penny in that emporium again.

    Strangely enough my home town still has 2 booming gaming shops, both off the high rent shopfrontage and neither run as badly as the latest recession casualty we are here to lament.

    Condolences to all the staff who just got the bullet, never a nice thing to happen, especially right now. :(

    I hope whoever buys it knows exactly what they need to do to fix a very broken business model.

    Anyone remember Our Price? VShops? Sanity? Maybe Paris does... no wait.....

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