Game is in negotiations with bookseller and stationer specialist WHSmith to expand a new concession partnership.

After reporting a “disappointing” 27% drop in half-year pre-tax profits, Game chief executive Martyn Gibbs told Retail Week that, although the partnership is in its “infancy”, its existing concessions in WHSmith stores are “working really well” for the group.

There are currently Game concessions in two WHSmith branches – Oxford and Birmingham Fort.

Gibbs said: “It’s definitely in its infancy but the concessions are working really well for us because it allows us to cost effectively get into locations we’re not currently operating in.”

“We are in dialogue around what the opportunity could look like,” he added, but said it was too soon to put a number on how many concessions there could be in the future.

Belong gaming arenas

As part of the gaming specialist’s strategy to diversify into e-sports and events, Game has launched nine in-store gaming arenas that, it said, are yielding “encouraging early results”.

The retailer plans to open another 20 of the Belong-branded arenas in 2017, and told Retail Week there was scope for up to 100 in the UK.

Game boss unveils Belong-branded gaming arenas

“Once we’ve done a trial in a smaller location we’ll have a better idea of what the utopia number is,” Gibbs added.


With more than 200 of its leases expiring over the next two years, Game will continue to optimise its estate as it seeks to drive further cost efficiencies. 

“As leases come up for renewal we’ve got the opportunity to negotiate with landlords. But it also gives us the opportunity to relocate to bigger locations where we can fit a Belong arena,” Gibbs said.

In addition to moving to some larger sites, Game will look to close stores where there are currently two in one town.

“We closed our two stores at the Metro Centre [in Gateshead] and opened one that was bigger than the two put together,” the gaming boss explained.

“We’ve got about a dozen I think that we could look to do that with,” he said.

Gibbs insisted that Game was not looking to shrink its store footprint.

“There is only one loss-making store in the whole UK portfolio,” he said. 

The retailer currently operates from 311 UK stores, with an additional 270 in Spain.