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Game Group PLC (GMG)

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Wednesday 15 June, 2011

Game Group PLC

Interim Management Statement

RNS Number : 4445I
Game Group PLC
15 June 2011



The GAME Group plc


Interim Management Statement


Strategy delivering results in a challenging market. Group well positioned for new technology launches


The GAME Group plc ("GAME" or "the Group"), Europe's leading retailer of pc and video games products, today issues its Interim Management Statement covering the period from 1 February to 11 June 2011, ahead of its Annual General Meeting at 10am.


Ian Shepherd, Group CEO, commented:


"We are seeing early results from the strategic initiatives that we outlined in February, even though the video games market has been more challenging than anticipated this year. The pipeline of new hardware and software which has been announced for 2012 and beyond is encouraging, and our strategy is designed to strengthen our leading position and drive growth as the market transitions and evolves over the next five years.


Strategy Update


We still have a lot to do to deliver on our strategic ambitions, but we have good momentum which is making an impact on our performance in key business areas.


·      Multichannel: Our aim is to grow our market share significantly by joining up our ecommerce and high street operations. Our UK online market share is now 19%, up from 13% last year. We will move our website onto a new platform this summer.

·      Right stores: Our aim is to have a more efficient and effective retail footprint. Our store closure programme is on target, with 20 closures already1. We continue to review the shape of each of our businesses, and expect to close further stores this year. We are on track to deliver our planned 1% increase in footfall conversion.

·      Unique product range: Our aim is to increase the range of products that customers cannot buy elsewhere. A key element of this is the sale of digital products, and UK digital sales have accelerated to 33% year on year growth in the last 7 weeks. We will continue to expand our digital range over the summer.

·      Novel ways to buy: Our aim is to increase customer participation in our preowned and trade-in service, because it offers them great value for money. Preowned remains 29% of total sales at 41% margin (H1 2010: 27.5% sales at 38.5% margin). We are developing new payment methods for our customers, which will be announced in the coming months.

·      Strong customer relationships: Our aim is to have a direct relationship with every customer. 300,000 new customers have joined our loyalty schemes in the last 7 weeks, taking the total to 17.3 million. We will launch personalised campaigns to increase the number of "super users" (our highest spending customers).


As previously noted we expect our total capital expenditure for the year, which includes delivery of these initiatives, to be around £18m (2010/11: £18m). This, combined with our working capital profile, ensures we have a sound financial base with which to implement our future plans.


Current Trading


PC and video games markets around the world continue to track lower than last year. In the last 19 weeks the markets in which we operate have shown revenue declines of 12.8%, with hardware down 10.3% and software down 14.1%. This is worse than the consensus industry forecasts at the start of the year.


Although we continue to outperform, we are not immune to these current market trends. For the 19 weeks to 11 June 2011, total Group sales were down by 11.3% and like for like (lfl) Group sales for the same period were down by 9.4%.


In the UK and Ireland, total store sales were down by 11.5% and lfl sales were down by 9.1%. In our International business, total store sales were down by 13.3% and lfl sales were down by 11.8%.  In our Online business sales were up by 2.4%.


This is an improving picture since our last announcement, and in the last 7 weeks Group lfl has been -4.0%. This is in line with our expectations, and reflects our success with the period's biggest launch, LA Noire, and the other recent software releases.


E3 update


Last week's E3 conference2 in Los Angeles showcased a range of strong software franchises launching in the second half of this year, including Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, FIFA 12, Assassin's Creed Revelations, Just Dance 3 and Mario Kart 3D, and displayed details of new "fourth generation" technology which will launch in the next 18 months: the PlayStation Vita handheld and the Nintendo Wii U console.


Although impressive, we now believe that this year's software releases are unlikely to improve the market materially in the short term, given where we are in the hardware cycle.However, the combination of a broader line-up of new software titles for the 3DS, the arrival of the PlayStation Vita and the launch of the Nintendo Wii U bodes well for 2012 and the subsequent years. 


As Europe's leading video games retailer with over 17 million loyalty card holders and 3.5 million customers visiting our stores and websites each week, we will be the principal retailer for all of the launches in 2011 and beyond.


Outlook and guidance


Having evaluated the recent E3 announcements in the context of overall market conditions, we now believe our Group revenues will be 0% to -3% in 2011 compared to last year. This reflects expectations that the total market will be down around -10% year on year, compared to the previously anticipated revenue decline of -5%.  We retain our margin guidance of -100bps for the full year, and expect that operating costs will be £5 - 8 million lower than last year as we adapt our operations to fit the lower revenue profile.


Our strong balance sheet and strict financial disciplines continue to support our strategy. We have a list of clear actions which will reinforce the strengths of our business and prepare us for the forthcoming changes in our market, and are confident that our strategy is positioning our business for growth in the long term.


The Board


As previously announced, Peter Lewis will retire as Chairman following today's AGM and Board meeting, and Chris Bell has been appointed as the new Chairman. David Mansfield resigned as a Non Executive Director on 13 May 2011. The process to recruit two new Non Executive Directors is well progressed and we will announce appointments in due course."


The Group will publish Interim Results on 27 September 2011.


- ENDS -




1. Store portfolio:


11 June 2011

31 January 2011



Company owned and concessions

UK and Ireland:



- GAME - stores



- GAME - concessions



- Gamestation












Czech Republic



Total Continental Europe






Total International



Total owned and concessions













Czech Republic



Total franchises



Total operational outlets




2. About E3:


E3 is the annual global video games industry trade show in Los Angeles, at which a large range of new products are announced and demonstrated.  This year's event took place between 7 and 9 June.





The GAME Group plc:

+44 (0)1256 784566

Ian Shepherd, CEO

Ben White, Group Finance Director,

Simon Soffe, Investor Relations and Group Communications Director


+44 (0)20 7404 5959

Jonathan Glass, Wendel Verbeek, Natalia Marisova




This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange