Supplier trouble for Game but bidder looms for shops

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The Independent Online

GameStop, the world's largest retailer of video games, has expressed an interest in buying the Iberian operation of the troubled Game Group, i has learned. News of the approach came as it emerged that another supplier was withholding products from Game.

GameStop's interest in all, or parts, of Game's 291-store operation in Spain and Portugal is a rare piece of good news for the company. Both companies declined to comment. But Game, which has 610 UK shops, still faces a battle to safeguard its future.

Its shares closed at 4.6p yesterday. And the supplier Capcom is refusing to ship its latest games – Street Fighter X Tekken and Asura's Wrath, which are scheduled for release on Friday – to Game. Capcom's move followed a decision last week by the technology giants Electronic Arts and Nintendo to pull their products because of concerns about Game's creditworthiness.

A spokeswoman for Game said: "We're in talks with Capcom to resolve this temporary situation and we apologise to our customers for this disappointing news."

The retailer put its 663 stores overseas up for sale by appointing advisers at Rothschild in January. Game made an estimated loss of £18m for the year to 31 January.

Analysts at Peel Hunt have said Game may lose £5m of revenues as a result of not stocking Electronic Arts' Mass Effect 3 game.

Game has been one of the most high-profile victims of the High Street crisis and has suffered from the shift towards online sales of video games.

Analysts have pointed to similarities with HMV, the music retailer which has been struggling from the collapse in sales of its goods on the high street. HMV managed to get a financial lifeline at the start of the year by striking a deal with banks and music and film suppliers that gave it some respite over the covenants set by lenders.