Game recorded a worse than expected first-half loss but new chief executive Ian Shepherd said there were “clear opportunities” when the market bounces back.

The retailer revealed an £18.8m loss in the 26 weeks to July 31, compared with pre-tax profit before non-recurring costs and tax of £14.5m in the same period last year. Margins were hit by increased promotion levels in the subdued games market.

Game said it marked a return to its “traditional seasonal trading profile” - when losses are made in the first half and profits in the second - in contrast to last year’s performance.

Shepherd, who joined Game in June, said: “It’s a very tough market. But we gained share in the period in every territory we operate in.”

He said opportunities included exploiting skills of its staff, its loyalty card and multichannel offering. Game is trying out new store concepts to include more interactivity.

Group revenues declined 9.6% to £624.6m while like-for-like sales dropped 10.9%. In the 34 weeks to September 25 like-for-likes fell 10%. In the six-month period, UK and Ireland like-for-likes slumped 16.2%. International like-for-likes dropped 3.1%.

Gross margin declined by 290 basis points as the retailer discounted to offer customers value.

Shepherd said that there had been a dearth of good releases in the first half but that Christmas looked promising.

Singer retail analyst Matthew McEachran said the £18.8m loss was worse than the £15.5m forecast.