Game Group has reported UK and Ireland like-for-like sales slumped by 17.5% after a disappointing Christmas performance.

In the five weeks to January 9, total UK and Ireland sales fell by 18%. Total group sales decreased by 12.1% and group like-for-likes were down by 13.8%. Total sales for international increased by 0.9% but like-for-likes were down by 5.9% on a constant currency basis.

Chairman Peter Lewis said: “The negative trends in the pc and video games market, outlined in our previous trading statement, continued over the key Christmas selling period despite strong software releases and a sizeable installed base of hardware.

“This, combined with the strong comparative period and the impact of customers shopping later, resulted in like for like sales declines of 13.8% for the group over the last five weeks. Since Christmas, however, we have seen significant improvement.”

For the 49 weeks to January 9, total sales for the UK and Ireland were down 15.1% and like-for-likes were down by 16.8%.

Game now expects group profit before non-recurring costs and tax for the year to January 31 to be between £87m and £93m. City estimates were around £95m.

Lewis said in the year 2010/11 the retailer expects the video games market to continue moving towards higher margin software. It said the board remains mindful of the uncertain macro-economic environment and the trends in the pc and video games market. He said: “This combination of factors means that revenues are likely to decline year on year but our sales mix will continue to move towards higher margin new and preowned products.”