UK retailer Game enters administration: Half of stores close

UK gaming retail giant Game has entered administration after it found itself in financial difficulties, and ultimately could no longer afford to pay store rent or its staff.

Game Group formally entered administration today. PricewaterhouseCoopers has been tasked with searching for a potential buyer, after the company found itself in financial difficulty.

Game Group, which has 609 stores in the UK and Ireland, will close 277 stores with immediate effect with the loss of 2,104 staff, including 15 head office employees.

"As of this morning we are now in administration, a summary of what this means can be found here. Thanks for your support," a tweet by staff said.

Game said in a Facebook post that online retail services expect "disruption", and it "will not be able to offer refunds or exchanges" for ordered products. Gift cards are also suspended, and pre-orders of upcoming titles will not be taken.

The company could still be saved, as The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), one of Game's lenders, is leading a group plan to buy out the gaming retail giant. The group of seven banks are owed £85 million ($135m) by the company. The hope had been that the struggling firm would have found a buyer over the weekend before it was forced into administration.

The deadline of March 25 came and went, as the company needed to pay a £21 million ($33m) rent bill, and a further £12 million ($19m) to pay its staff.

Game’s decline was seen initially last month when it failed to acquire key game titles, such as Electronic Arts’ Mass Effect 3 and Nintendo’s Mario Party 9.

The company has been criticised for failing to adapt its business model to take into account in-console application stores, and recoup its cash losses from its 2007 acquisition of GameStation; a move that was seen as the company "punching above its weight".

Image source: Game.co.uk/ZDNet.

Related: