Jobs threat as games retailer enters administration

Game, Fargate, Sheffield city centre.
Game, Fargate, Sheffield city centre.
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STAFF at a retailer with a string of stores across South Yorkshire face an uncertain future after it collapsed into administration.

Professional services firm PwC has been appointed administrator to the UK operations of Game Group, which has 609 stores under the names Game and Gamestation.

The chain, which employs 385 staff at its headquarters in Basingstoke, Hampshire, and about 5,100 in its stores, has suffered dire trading in recent months, while some suppliers refused to stock the retailer as its worsening finances came under increased scrutiny.

Game and Gamestation employ about 160 staff across stores in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, including Fargate in Sheffield city centre, Crystal Peaks shopping centre, Parkgate Shopping in Rotherham, Cheapside in Barnsley, Frenchgate Centre in Doncaster, Vicar Lane in Chesterfield and two in Meadowhall shopping centre.

PwC said it was hopeful Game could be sold.

PwC said it was hopeful Game could be sold.

The group’s lenders were reportedly working on plans to buy a slimmed-down version of the retailer out of administration.

Mike Jervis, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: “The group has faced serious cashflow and profit issues over the recent past.

“It also has suffered from high fixed costs, an ambitious international roll-out and fluctuating working capital requirements.

“Despite these challenges, we believe that there is room for a specialist game retailer in the territories in which it operates, including its biggest one - the UK. As a result we are hopeful that a going-concern sale of the business is achievable.”

Game’s demise follows a string of profit warnings and the failure of nervous suppliers, including Electronic Arts and Nintendo, to go on providing new games.

The retailer had a £21 million rent bill due this week 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.

Are you one of the members of staff affected? Call The Star newsdesk on 0114 2521346.