More than 600 stores across the country are now answerable to the administrators, along with its online operation.
PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed as the insolvency experts to oversee the administration and have wasted no time in getting to work.
Game currently has 609 stores around the UK, an online presence and more than 6,000 staff, many of whom could realistically end up redundant. However, despite the catastrophic news that many employees are now coming to terms with, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as PwC have indicated they believe the chain can be sold as a going concern.
Despite its financial difficulties, the chain has already attracted a circle of interested parties, including rival US-based firm, Gamestop, OpCapita – which recently bought out the debt-ridden Comet chain for just £2 – and its lender, the Royal Bank of Scotland. OpCapita has already submitted a bid for the chain, whilst a consortium, led by RBS, is expected to table an offer which would see existing debts of £85 million into the new business.
Game has come under increasing pressure in recent months and as it fought to keep its head above water, one by one its retail partners pulled away their support, with major labels, such as Nintendo and Electronic Arts, refusing to allow Game to stock new titles.
The news that Game had entered into administration came as a shock to no-one, especially after its shares were suspended on the London Stock Exchange last week, after it filed a notice of intent to register for insolvency. Around £21 million in rent payments was due to be made this weekend with an additional £12 million in wages. A further £10 million VAT bill and £40 million in outstanding invoices from suppliers goes some way towards explaining why the group were unable to continue. The administrators are expected to pay the wages bill in full.
However, whilst many customers may feel sympathy for the chain, many are likely to feel aggrieved by the news that they may not be entitled to receive money or goods that they are owed.
The retailer confirmed that both its gift card and loyalty scheme had been suspended with immediate effect and said that it will no longer be able to offer refunds or exchanges, even if the product was purchased prior to its official insolvency date.
The website has been taken down ‘for maintenance’ and any visitors are faced with a notice advising them of the appointment of administrators. Game has said that it will not accept any orders for new titles until further notice and will also not be able to refund any deposits paid for games not yet released.
The chain, which includes the Gamestation stores, acknowledged that its refusal to give customers their money back, or provide goods, was likely to be a source of extreme frustration and apologised, promising to let customers know if the situation changed.
However, for some customers, an apology was little comfort to losing out on money held on gift cards, reward schemes or paid out in deposits and, in some parts of the country, there were reports of customers battering on doors to try and gain access to closed stores. Police were believed to have been forced to attend the scene to intervene.
The group said that any customer requiring information about an existing order should contact the customer service department.