Entertainment - Game goes into expansion mode

Computer games group Game will expand in all its main markets next year. A total of 70 stores are planned next year, with 20 each in the UK, France and Spain, and 10 in Sweden.

In addition, Game is also continuing to open stores in the run-up to the crucial Christmas period and will open six more UK shops, 11 in Spain, nine in France and two in Sweden.

The Christmas push will take Game's store numbers to 307 in the UK - excluding 32 concessions - 57 in France, 29 company-owned outlets in Spain and 23 in Sweden.

Game has enjoyed strong growth following the launch of Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube earlier this year and the continued success of Sony's PlayStation 2.

Commercial director Lisa Morgan said: 'We are not seeing any erosion into our market share and have just put in a splendid first half. Our business is extremely well prepared for Christmas and we now have the single-brand proposition in the UK with the Game fascia.'

The retailer, formerly Electronics Boutique, has been converting all its EB-branded stores to Game.

Turnover was up 50 per cent to£214.7 million, while like-for-likes rose by 28.7 per cent, for the six months to July 31. Profit before goodwill amortisation was£3.1 million against a loss of£1.9 million for the equivalent period last year.

- Analysis: page 10.