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  1. ITV Report

'Game over' for Grainger Games

Note on the firm's Newcastle city branch today. Photo: NCJ Media
Grainger Games in central Newcastle. Credit: NCJ Media

Grainger Games is understood to have closed its remaining 46 shops, making around 400 people redundant.

The North East video game retailer closed 21 of its high street shops yesterday, after sending an email to certain staff telling them not to open.

But the company - which started life selling video games within Newcastle’s Grainger Market - is understood to have closed its remaining 46 shops and made hundreds of workers redundant.

The firm’s Newcastle city centre branch, which stands metres from its original stall, is among those that have closed.

A sign placed in the shop’s window said: “Sorry to say we are now closed. Thanks for 21 years of custom. Game OVER.”

Customers have been told little about the company’s situation and it is unclear whether those who placed pre-orders with the company will receive their money back.

Grainger Games has struggled to survive the changing video game market, which has seen in increased demand for downloadable games. The company did sell its products online but its website has now also been shut down.

In an attempt to adapt, the high street branches had began selling pop culture and video game merchandising, but even this diversification was not enough to stave off the company’s financial troubles.

However, the final blow to the business came last week when Grainger Games’ managing director Stephen Bowyer revealed the company’s creditors had decided to slash its credit facilities.

In a statement given at the time, Mr Bowyer said: “Our trading has been strong in the period through Christmas with significant improvement against the previous year. In January 2018 we secured long working capital facilities bucking the market trend to support our successful diversification strategy.

“However, confidence in UK high street retail has been at an all-time low which has been further impacted by recent retailer failures.

“On the back of this, we have very recently been notified that Grainger has had or will have certain supplier credit limits cut or removed. This has come as shock to us all and presents a significant operating challenge driven by factors outside our control.

“Grainger has a strong brand across the North of England with a well known value proposition and diverse marketing offering. We are working tirelessly with our advisers to explore all options and are in dialogue with a number of interested parties regarding the future of the business.”

Grainger Games had operated 24 stores across the North East but also owned around another 40, predominantly in the North of England. The company’s last financial accounts reveal it employed 390 members of staff, who are understood to have been made redundant.

During the financial year ending March 2017 Grainger Games Holdings Limited made an operating loss of £1.3m after its turnover dipped to £48.7m. In 2016 the firm had reported an operating loss of £223,000 and revenues of £51.1m.