GAME Group's recovery begins

April 9, 2012 | 08:50

Tags: #bricks-and-mortar #console-gaming #high-street #opcapita #pc-gaming #retail

Companies: #game #game-group #gamestation

Things are starting to look up for troubled high-street retailer GAME Group, with the news that reward cards and gift vouchers are being accepted once more and new-release titles are starting to appear.

The situation looked bleak for the retailer, which operates the GAME and Gamestation brands in the UK, as an unusually slow Christmas sales period led to financial struggles. The troubles got so far advanced that the company was forced to enter administration and sell off 277 of its high-street stores just to stay afloat.

GAME Group was saved at the eleventh hour, by a bid from investment group OpCapita which saw the company - and its mounting debts - acquired for a mere £1 investment. It's not OpCapita's first such deal: the company did the same thing for electronics and white goods giant Comet, buying the company for £2 as it faced spiralling debts.

As part of the administration, GAME Group customers were sadly left behind: as well as numerous store closures, the company took the decision to suspend hardware trade-ins, refuse returns and pre-order cancellations except where mandated by customers' statutory rights, and prevent the spending of gift voucher or reward card balances.

Thankfully, with OpCapita behind it and a plan for fiscal solvency in place, things are finally returning to normal for the remaining stores. The company has announced that reward card balances and gift vouchers are once again being accepted, as are all hardware and software trade-ins. Better still, the company's 28-day returns policy is making a welcome return.

It seems that OpCapita's input is having the desired effect with the publishers, too. One of GAME Group's biggest problems was publishers like Electronic Arts pulling their new-release titles from stores amid fears that GAME Group would go bankrupt and the merchandise end up in the hands of liquidators.

A statement released by Namco Bandai suggest that this, too, is at an end. 'GAME, Gamestation and Namco Bandai Partners UK are pleased to confirm that The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Enhanced Edition for Xbox 360 will be available from all GAME and Gamestation stores across the UK on the 17th April,' the statement reads. 'We can confirm that all customers who have pre-ordered the Dark Edition and the Enhanced Edition will receive the eagerly anticipated RPG for launch.'

With Namco back on board, other publishers are likely to follow - suggesting that the world of high-street games retail isn't coming to an end just yet.
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