GAME investing heavily in multichannel with a focus on downloads and mobile gaming

Game aims to triple its digital revenues as part of a three-year strategy to evolve into a fully multichannel business.

The games specialist makes annual online sales of £100m at group level at present, and wants to increase the sum to £300m by 2013.

Digital revenue streams represented 2.5% of turnover in 2010 and Game wants to grow the proportion to 7.5% in 2011.

Game, which is to invest £15m in the strategy, said that as a result of the repositioning, margins will decline by about 100 basis points in this financial year as digital revenues become a bigger part of the sales mix. However, group chief executive Ian Shepherd said delivery of the strategy would be “profit enhancing”.

Game will focus on opportunities such as downloads and mobile gaming, fields in which Shepherd said the retailer was “less well represented”. Game chief marketing officer Dave Hughes will lead the strategy. He joins from Marks & Spencer, where he oversaw M&S Direct, in April.

Shepherd said: “Shoppers are changing the way they’re buying games. The growth is coming from digital. We want to be bold about quickly reinventing the business.”

Although the three-year strategy – Dedicated to Gaming – hinges on the digital business, Shepherd emphasised that shops remain crucial, but said: “Stores should be the physical manifestation of the website, not the other way round.”

Game, which has 639 shops, envisages reducing the number to 550 and perhaps fewer. Shepherd said: “We have a very short average lease length of five years, giving us flexibility.”

Game intends to create more in-store theatre, with wi-fi hot spots in stores so customers can download games to their mobiles. Shepherd said staff may in future carry tablets in-store to encourage interactivity.

Game has relaunched its Gamestation.co.uk website to include blogging facilities. It is also testing in-store ordering for home delivery, and will expand its click-and-collect offer.

The retailer also aims to increase its footfall conversion rate from 19% today to 22% in 2013.

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