Game has expressed an interest in acquiring a number of HMV’s stores in towns where the videogame retailer currently has no presence. The OpCapita-owned company approached financial firm Deloitte – which is handling HMV’s administration – with up to 45 locations in mind.
Game Retail chief executive Martyn Gibbs told the FT that the approach has been made by Game management, and not OpCapita adding assurances that Game’s revenue is “ahead of expectations” following christmas.
“We will constantly review our property portfolio based on what is available,” he said. “I would not rule out any stores that are becoming available, be that through an administration or normal property deals.”
It’s a move that will raise many eyebrows, given Game’s near collapse last year, and the continuing decline of UK retail evidence by the closure of Comet, HMV and most recently Blockbuster. However, the group set out its intentions to open more stores in June after the operation slimmed down to 333 stores with the closure of 277.
And, conversely, the closure of HMV and Blockbuster stores actually places Game in a stronger position as its highstreet competition thins. But that position remains precarious given that the next generation of hardware – which includes the next Xbox and PlayStation, along with Steam boxes and a number of Android-based microconsoles – will lean more heavily than ever on digital distribution.
Either way, Game faces competition from around 50 other interested parties, and it will have to set out a particularly strong case to convince Deloitte that it is the right buyer. It will also have to conduct negotiations in the shadow of OpCapita’s controversial handling of Comet, for which it faces a possible government enquiry.