Belfast Telegraph

Game Digital cheers new Nintendo Switch launch for helping rescue flagging sales

Retailer Game Digital has cheered the launch of the new Nintendo Switch console for helping rescue flagging sales after a tough first half.

The chain said UK sales have jumped by 7% since the end of January amid surging demand for the Nintendo games console, which launched earlier this month.

It comes as a welcome boost after a difficult first half, with Game posting a 26.7% tumble in pre-tax profits to £16.5 million for the six months to January 28.

Sales, by gross transaction value, slumped 18.1% in the UK over the first half.

Game said sales across both the UK and its better performing Spanish business were 20% higher in the first seven weeks of its second half thanks to the Nintendo Switch launch.

But it warned: "Going forwards this positive momentum will be highly dependent on stock availability."

The console launch has breathed new life into the market, which Game said had been "challenging", with a weaker line-up of game launches in the first half impacting already tough trading.

Its first half profits plunge follows an annual crash in earnings of more than 80% for the year to July 30.

Sales of games consoles continued to be hit hardest in the most recent six months, plunging by 34.2% across the group's 311 UK stores.

Game said its turnaround plan helped cut costs by more than £5 million in the first half and said it would be reviewing its store estate further, with over 200 shop leases due to come up for renegotiation.

It is also pushing into new areas, such as virtual reality e-sports and live gaming events to offset tougher retail sales.

The group has launched ''gaming arenas'' in seven stores, with plans for at least another 20 by the end of the year.

Its store review is also set to see it shift to larger shops in some areas to allow it to "accommodate its full social, experiential and competitive gaming proposition", according to the group.

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