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GAME reports "exceptional demand" for platform exclusives

By Matt Martin

Tue 13 Jan 2009 9:26am GMT / 4:26am EST / 1:26am PST

Group sales up over 16 per cent over Christmas, with both single and multiformat titles performing well

The GAME Group has reported that it experienced "exceptional demand" for single format games over the Christmas period, proving there's still a strong market for platform exclusive titles.

The combination of exclusives and multiformat blockbusters helped the retailer boost total group sales by 16.6 per cent for the six weeks ended January 10, with like-for-like sales up 5.4 per cent.

"GAME experienced exceptional consumer demand for a number of single format games, including Mario Kart and Wii Fit on Nintendo Wii, LittleBigPlanet on Sony PS3, Gears of War 2 and Fable 2 on Microsoft Xbox 360 and Brain Training and Professor Layton on Nintendo DS," said the company.

Big multiformat sellers over the six weeks included Call of Duty: World at War, FIFA 09, Fallout 3, Need for Speed: Undercover and Guitar Hero World Tour.

Sales in the UK and Ireland were up 16.3 per cent, with like-for-like sales up 10 per cent, while international sales increased 17.3 per cent, although like-for-like sales were down by 3 per cent on a constant currency basis.

The company noted that although trading was difficult due to the current economic environment, it benefited from the winding down of the Woolworths business and the struggle by other retailers, including Zavvi, to obtain stock.

"The wider economic environment has led to challenging trading conditions, albeit that the UK also experienced significant changes to the competitive landscape with some competitors having limited availability of stock or ceasing to trade.

"These events gave some upside to the performance in the UK business during the latter part of this key trading period," said GAME.

For the 50 weeks to January 10, total group sales were up 24.2 per cent, with like-for-like sales up 9.5 per cent.

Total sales for the UK and Ireland increased by 22.7 per cent, with like-for-likes up 11.4 per cent, while international sales climbed 28.1 per cent, with like-for-likes up 5 per cent on a constant currency basis.

The retailer noted that it now expects profit for the 53 weeks to January 31 to be no less than GBP 122 million, up from GBP 75.5 million for the prior year.

Online sales for the company for the 50 weeks to January 10 were up 75.1 per cent to GBP 99.2 million.

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