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Retail expects "biggest Christmas ever" for sales

Gamestation boss tells <i>GamesIndustry.biz</i> that hardware and games will make this year the biggest Christmas for sales ever.

With repositioned hardware prices now in place and the traditional flood of new software hitting stores over the coming weeks, leading High Street specialist Gamestation has told GamesIndustry.biz that it expects this season to be the âbiggest Christmas everâ.

With a wide selection of home and handheld hardware covering multiple price points, and multiple software titles from all the leading publishers, not even shake-ups or supply problems with the home consoles is likely to dampen consumer spending.

"It's going to be the strongest Christmas ever, the biggest Christmas ever," commented Jeremy Gerkin, joint MD of Gamestation.

"We've got the PS3 in two different sizes, the Wii — availability might be a little bit difficult so people are getting them in early — the 360 and the Elite 360, and then the DS. So from a hardware perspective it's by far the best year ever. And there's a really exciting line-up of games as well," he said.

There may be continued problems with the supply of the Wii, but Gerkin believes that the market is still interested in Nintendo's console a year after the initial release.

"It's doing all it can to produce the Wii as quick as it can," he said. "It's been amazing how they've managed to keep the interest in it. A year after release and as soon as we get them we sell them.

"We haven't got a situation where we've got them and we're stuck with them for six months. They come in an go out on the same day. When it first came out we wondered if Nintendo could keep the interest going but they have certainly managed it. It's an amazing job," he added.

Gerkin was speaking during the weekend of the opening of the company's second biggest store in Hull, where customers were queuing the night before to take advantage of special offers that included Xbox 360 hardware for GBP 99.99, and new releases Legend of Zelda :Phantom Hourglass and Sega Rally for the PS3 for just GBP 9.99.

But it's not just the retailer's limited offers that are tempting gamers to part with their cash in the run up to Christmas. Sony's recent price drop of its 60GB PlayStation 3 has had a very positive effect on sales of the console.

"If anything it's demonstrated what good value the 60GB version is," said Gerkin. "What we expected initially was that we were going to sell a boat load of 40GB models but that's not what has happened.

"Customers have walked in and seen the GBP 279 price and then seen that the GBP 349 price is exceptional value. By bringing out a cheaper model it's improved the sales of the higher-priced model. It's great for the industry because it's another format for people to get behind," he added.

Although Gamestation is currently caught up in a messy investigation by the Competition Commission over GAME's acquisition of the business, Gerkin said that the company is focusing purely on the the upcoming sales season.

"It's business as usual. We know what's going on with the monopoly's investigation but we're focusing on Christmas and concentrating on delivering big numbers," he said.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.