GAME property review likely to bring store closures

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Front of store of a GAME store and Belong arena

GAME has initiated a review of its property portfolio, fuelling speculation that it is likely to close some of its high street stores.

Currently, GAME has 259 high street stores, along with 21 Belong-branded esports arenas, in operation in the UK, but that portfolio is almost certain to be streamlined. Earlier this month, property company CBRE announced that it had been retained to undertake an audit of the company’s property portfolio.

In that statement, CBRE’s head James Keany said: “We are delighted to be advising GAME and working alongside Sports Direct. The existing GAME portfolio has an average unexpired term of less than 0.8 years which offers a significant opportunity to re-structure the current portfolio. There will be a combination of closures and relocations, with the focus being Belong, their exciting esports gaming platform.”

As we reported, Sports Direct made a £52 million bid to buy an 84 per cent stake in GAME in January 2019, which was finalised in June 2019. Since Sports Direct, owned by Mike Ashley, owns other high street retailers including House of Fraser, it was always likely that the company would cut down GAME’s property portfolio.

In a Retail Gazette article, a spokesperson for CBRE said

that: “The decision to restructure Game’s portfolio was a mutual one that came from both the video game retailer and Sports Direct.” While CBRE refused to be drawn on how many GAME stores are likely to be closed down, the property company admitted to Retail Gazette that: “That will depend on negotiations with landlords.”

We’ll keep you posted with any news emerging from CBRE’s property review. And you might want to keep an eye on the news section of GAME’s website.