The high street takes another hit as GAME announced it will be shutting 40 of its shops amid issues regarding landlords and rent. In other words, it's going to be a little bit harder to get your games in an actual shop, and not pulled out of the back of an Amazon delivery van.
According to a press release that's hit my inbox, GAME has already served notice on 27 of its branches, including the likes of Mansfield, Canterbury, Watford, Glasgow Fort, Leicester, Derby, Norwich, Chapelfield, Lakeside, Bexleyheath, and Carmarthen.
The issue here is all about landlords charging too much rent, and it's an issue that has been very close to the heart of Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct billionaire who purchased a majority stake in GAME last July. A spokesperson said:
“We are working closely with landlords throughout the UK to ensure that we do not have to vacate the 40 locations which could lead to a number of job losses. However, we are facing a challenging retail market and GAME with its extensive retail footprint, needs to restructure and landlords need to work with us in setting realistic, fair rents.”
To me that sounds like GAME is using the threat of closure to negotiate a better deal with its landlords. Mike Ashley has been very critical of "greedy landlords" in recent years, especially as he buys up more and more high street brands.
GAME claims to have over 300 locations across the UK, so closing 40 of them isn't going to make a huge dent in the company's high street presence. Then again it could be the start of more closures in more places as leases expire and Mike Ashley decides it's not worth paying the amount of rent he's being asked to.