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GAME posts record sales and profits

Retail chain sees UK profits jump 63%, although 2009 trading is challenging

GAME has posted its financial results for the year ending January 31, 2009, headlining with record sales and profits across the year.

The group turnover hit GBP 1.97 billion, up 32 per cent on the previous year, as operating profits jumped 68 per cent to GBP 127 million.

The group also increased its number of store locations, from 1161 to 1342, adding 19 per cent to the total square footage.

But store-based sales were complemented by significant growth in the retailer's online business, with sales and profits resulting from e-commerce up by 85 per cent and 109 per cent respectively.

The group's basic earnings per share figure was up by 79 per cent to 24.7 pence, while the annual dividend hit 5.5 pence.

"These were exceptional results for the Group... and continue a consistent growth trend for our business," said chairman Peter Lewis. "The Group's basic earnings per share before non-recurring costs in the last four years have increased by a compound annual average of over 44 per cent.

"The principal drivers have been third generation formats with many products now having a wider demographic appeal, the further development of our specialist credentials, successful international expansion and the many benefits arising from our acquisition of Gamestation."

However, in a trading update for February to mid-April, the company noted more challenging conditions with like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland down by 6.6 per cent - although Lewis was bullish in his outlook.

"Current trading performance is ahead of our expectations and this is particularly pleasing when set against the double digit growth achieved last year," he said. "Year-to-date margin has also improved, up 150 basis points as a result of higher margin products within the sales mix.

"The Board is confident in the outlook for the year to 31 January 2010."

GAME's share price closed yesterday at 164 pence.

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