Games chain plans aggressive growth in France and Spain
Game plans to increase its portfolio to 1,000 stores within three years as it mounts a massive expansion drive in continental Europe.

The UK's leading games retailer wants to capitalise on the expected boom in the games industry as Sony and Microsoft launch next-generation consoles in the coming months. Game has 650 stores, but will boost its numbers aggressively in Spain and France.

On Tuesday, Game acquired French games retailer Addon for 6.2 million (£4.2 million), giving it an extra 20 stores, 10 of which are franchises.

The deal takes Game's French store count to 88. It plans to have more than 100 stores in France by Christmas and to reach 700 at group level as it drives forward in Spain, buying back franchises and opening new outlets.

Excluding the Addon acquisition, Game will invest about£30 million in organic expansion this year. It also has outlets in Scandinavia, with 54 stores across Sweden and Denmark. Game chief executive Martin Long said the retailer is also considering entering new markets, but would not reveal where it will go next.

The retailer has restructured its senior management team to marshal the push, with Long spearheading the march on Europe. Deputy chief executive Lisa Morgan takes sole responsibility for the UK business.

Long is confident that Game will prosper on the back of console launches, despite competition from entertainment players such as HMV, other games specialists and grocers.

The hand-held Sony PSP will be the first of the new hardware to arrive, hitting stores on September 1. It will be followed by the Microsoft Xbox 360, which is due out before Christmas. Next year will bring the arrival of the Sony PlayStation 3.