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Computer retailer to up its game with loyalty bonus

Game Group set out plans to drive online sales and offer more deals to its loyalty card holders as part of a strategy to revive its fortunes.

The computer and games retailer, which operates 12 stores in Northern Ireland, announced a three-year plan to help it make "a step change" in online and digital sales, as more gamers download software from the internet rather than visiting shops to buy a games cartridge or CD.

Other aspects of its plan will see it send more marketing material to the estimated 15 million reward card holders on its database. The company warned the change of strategy will see 1% eroded from its profit margin.

Game expects to invest nearly all of the £15m it will make through closing stores and other cost saving measures in its new plan. It has also announced a new three-and-a-half-year, £160m borrowing facility with a syndicate of six banks including Allied Irish Banks and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Chief executive Ian Shepherd said: "The activities will increase our revenues from new and existing channels, which will improve overall profitability."

Game, which made losses of £18.8m in the first half of 2010, this month began selling downloadable games for Xbox 360 in 40 of its stores as part of a six month trial.

Shares were up 2% yesterday as investors cheered the news.

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Game has closed 42 outlets in the UK and Ireland since April.