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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Cumbrian Game store staff see their jobs saved and lost

Workers at two branches of a collapsed computer game retailer lost their jobs yesterday.

Game logo

Staff at Game stores in Gretna and Barrow were told the shops will close with immediate effect after the chain slumped into administration.

Game stores in Carlisle, Workington and Kendal were not included on the list and are expected to stay open while a buyer is sought for the stricken business.

The firm is now in the hands of administrators PwC after it was plunged into a financial crisis following poor trading.

PwC said it was hopeful that Game could be sold.

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

A consortium of banks led by the 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.

Mike Jervis, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: “The group has faced serious cashflow and profit issues over the recent past.

“It also has suffered from high fixed costs, an ambitious international roll-out and fluctuating working capital requirements.

“Despite these challenges, we believe that there is room for a specialist game retailer in the territories in which it operates, including its biggest one – the UK.

“As a result we are hopeful that a going-concern sale of the business is achievable.”

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 £21 million rent bill due yesterday and faces a £12m wage bill this weekend, although PwC is expected to honour any wages owed.

There is also £10m in VAT and £40m owed to suppliers.

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

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