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Game's CFO to step down as it reports drop in sales and profit

Game Digital has announced that its chief financial officer Benedict Smith is to leave the business as it reported a fall in both sales and profit in the first half of its financial year.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Game's CFO to step down as it reports drop in sales and profit

Game Digital has announced that its chief financial officer Benedict Smith is to leave the business as it reported a fall in both sales and profit in the first half of its financial year.

In the 26 weeks to 24 January, the video game retailer’s pre-tax profit was £33.2 million compared to £33.8 million a year earlier.

While revenue edged down 0.7% to £582.1 million, adjusted EBITDA declined to £43 million from £51.3 million previously.

In a statement the company said: “Following a solid performance in our first quarter, a highly competitive Christmas trading period in the UK and weaker market conditions in Spain resulted in the group achieving sales and profits below our original expectations for the first half.”

Game explained that the video games market in the UK had started 2015 more slowly than anticipated, but it expects activity in the UK to pick up in the coming weeks, driven by promotional campaigns around Easter and the launch of a number of key titles.

Martyn Gibbs, Game chief executive, said: "The video games market remains dynamic and competitive. While we experienced some challenging conditions over the Christmas trading period, we are confident that our strategy of focusing on customer recruitment, combined with the significant and growing number of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners across our two major territories, provides a solid foundation from which to drive growth over the medium term.”

During the period, Game’s market share was maintained at 33% in the UK while increasing from 34% to 36% year-on-year in Spain as the company benefited from the addition of 44 GameStop stores in the country in October 2014.

Game saw strong growth in digital revenues which rose by 40% year-on-year.

Looking ahead Gibbs said: "Our focus for the second half is to deliver on our trading targets and to continue to push forward our strategic initiatives, including further developing our digital strategy and broadening our engagement with gaming communities through technology, events and eSports following our acquisition of Multiplay.

"In the coming weeks and months we can look forward to a solid line up of new physical and digital games launches. Our pre-order rates on the major titles are encouraging and we have secured exclusive editions on many of the key titles."

In a separate announcement, Game said that Benedict Smith had informed the board of his intention to step down from his role as group chief financial officer later this year to take up a CFO role at a private equity-backed business. The company said a search for a successor is now underway.

Gibbs added: "I would like to thank Benedict for the valuable contribution he has made to GAME. Benedict has been a key member our management team which has transformed GAME, achieved a successful IPO and driven forward our strategy of being at the heart of the gaming community. Benedict leaves the business in a strong financial position and though he will be with us for a few more months, I and all the team would like to take this opportunity to wish him well in his future role."

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