Game jobs axed as stores closed

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MORE than 40 jobs are to be axed across Wearside after the collapse of high-street retailer Game.

Twelve jobs will go in Sunderland with the closure of Game in High Street West and Gamestation in Blandford Street, 13 at two stores in Washington Galleries, eight jobs will go with the closure of the chain’s Durham branch and nine in Peterlee.

Game in The Bridges will remain open for now.

Altogether, 277 stores in the UK and Ireland are to shut said, with the loss of 2,104.

The remaining 333 stores, which employ 2,814 staff, will continue to trade while they try to find a buyer for the remainder of the business.

The UK operations of the retailer, which trades as Game and Gamestation, collapsed into administration after it suffered dire trading in recent months, while some suppliers refused to stock the business.

Mike Jervis, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: “The recent job losses are regrettable but will place the company in a stronger position while we explore opportunities to conclude a sale. My team and I will be doing all we can to help the affected employees at this difficult time.”

The group’s lenders are reportedly working on plans to buy a slimmed-down version of the retailer out of administration.

A consortium of banks, led by state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland, is understood to be among three potential bidders, along with American rival Gamestop and OpCapita, which recently acquired consumer electronics business Comet.

Mr Jervis said he believed there was still room for a specialist video games retailer in the UK despite the difficult conditions in recent months and was hopeful the business could be sold as a going concern.

The chain’s demise follows a string of profit warnings and the failure of nervous suppliers, including Electronic Arts and Nintendo, to go on providing new games.

The retailer had a £21million rent bill due and faces a £1 million wage bill this weekend, although PwC is expected to honour any wages owed. There is also £10million in VAT and £40million owed to suppliers.

Game suffered a dismal Christmas and was later forced to ask suppliers for more generous trading terms.

But many stopped supplying it with new releases, such as Mass Effect 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken, leaving fans disappointed and adding to the group’s trading woes.

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