Belfast Telegraph

Game Digital boss departs weeks after profits warning

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Retailer Game Digital announced the departure of its finance director as it reported a fall in half-year earnings after a tough Christmas prompted a profit warning earlier this year.

The group said Benedict Smith, who helped turn around the business following its rescue from administration in 2012, would leave in July to take up a similar role at a private equity-backed business.

It also warned that the video games market in the UK had started 2015 "more slowly than expected", though it hoped for a pick-up in coming weeks driven by promotions around Easter and the launch of new titles. The results come two months after a post-Christmas profits warning following promotions starting on Black Friday which helped stores shift Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles but weighed on margins.

Game reported a 1.8% fall in pre-tax profits to £33.2m for the 26 weeks to January 25, on revenues down 0.7%.

Underlying earnings were down more sharply, by 16% to £43m. Meanwhile, it rewarded investors following last June's return to the stock market, with a maiden dividend of 7.35p per share plus a special dividend of £25million, equivalent to 14.7p per share.

Chief executive Martyn Gibbs said: "The video games market remains dynamic and competitive.

"While we experienced some challenging conditions over the Christmas trading period, we are confident that our strategy of focusing on customer recruitment, combined with the significant and growing number of Xbox One and Playstation 4 owners across our two major territories, provides a solid foundation from which to drive growth over the medium term."

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