Gamestation aims for 300 shops

Blockbuster-owned games retailer Gamestation is to continue aggressive expansion next year with about 70 openings, as it tries to close the gap on arch-rival Game.

By the end of this year, Gamestation will have opened 65 stores, taking the total to 210, including 33 concessions in Blockbuster.

Blockbuster UK development director Dave Gates said the intention is to continue at the same pace next year, taking it closer to the 300 mark.

Market leader Game has 380 UK stores and market share of approximately 25 per cent. Gamestation only controls about 8 per cent of the market.

When Blockbuster acquired Gamestation in 2002 it said there was scope for 400 to 500 stores in the UK.

Separately, Blockbuster is piloting a new-look store at Potters Bar and Letchworth in Hertfordshire. Designed by Campbell Rigg, the shops are split into zones with an authoritative retail offer, as Blockbuster boosts the sales side of its business. The rental offer is also less reliant on the charts in an effort to push back-catalogue titles harder.

Blockbuster vice-president for commercial Steve Foulser said sales uplifts at the stores had exceeded expectations.

If successful, the model will be adopted across the 720-store UK chain.