GAME closes 277 stores, lays off 40 per cent of workforce and suspends Reward and Gift Cards
It's sad, sad days for GAME employees and customers alike, as the company failed in its last-ditch efforts to find a buyer in order to avoid administration. The inevitable, therefore, happened yesterday (Monday, 26 March) and the group has since suspended its website, closed 277 GAME and Gamestation stores in UK and Ireland, made 2,104 people redundant and frozen Reward and Gift Cards, meaning people still with credit on either are currently unable to spend it.
The job losses equate to around 40 per cent of the company's total workforce, and includes 15 staff members from its headquarters in Basingstoke.
The flagship Gamestation store in Birmingham New Street is among the 277 (of 609) stores closed, although GAME's flagship in Oxford Street, London, is still trading.
It is believed that all of the group's stores in Ireland have been closed, and all but three in Northern Ireland.
Game.co.uk is also currently down "for maintenance", with a message announcing the appointment of MJA Jervis and SD Maddison as administrators replacing the usual online store.
An additional message on the site read,: "We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and we hope to be back up and running very soon."
Customers who are still awaiting orders placed through the website are advised that the administrators are "currently reviewing and processing orders placed on this website". Those worried about their orders are asked to contact GAME via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Customers are also outraged over the suspension of GAME Reward and Gift Cards. Many still have credit on their cards, from trade-in, Reward Points or as a gift. However, GAME will not be accepting the cards as payment for goods at present.
"We have had to suspended use of GAME Reward Cards," the company said in a statement. "This means that points can be earned but NOT redeemed until further notice.
"We have also had to suspend GAME gift cards. The value on these cards cannot be redeemed. If this changes, we will let you know. We apologise for the inconvenience this causes."
While customers, some of whom claim to have lost sums in three figures, are understandably upset, are reported to recognise that many GAME and Gamestation employees are in worse positions.
Posting on games industry trade magazine MCV's website, reader and GAME staff member Geingard explained what the day was like for him yesterday.
"I have had a mixture of supportive people, people who are all pissy with me until I remind them of the 2,000 job losses today at which point perspective kicks in and they become supportive," he said.
"To the people who are supportive, I'd like to say 'thanks' as it makes a huge difference to our day. It has already been two weeks of crap followed by the mass culling of many of our workmates and friends. One minute of support keeps a staff member's chin up for at least an hour or two."