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Mr Tony

GamesCentre Scotland Goes Bust

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https://www.mcvuk.com/business/award-winning-retailer-games-centre-enters-liquidation

 

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Games Centre, an award-winning independent retailer based in Scotland, has entered liquidation.

The business started in 1992 as a single retail unit, and had grown to encompass eight stores and an online storefront. It's been operating since, running for over 25 years.

 

This year has seen several retailers scale back their operations or close entirely, with Toys R Us and Grainger Games as just two video game retailers that have shut their doors this year, while several big names on the high street have also scaled back their operations or vanished entirely, with Maplin being one of the biggest casualties. Tesco closed their centralised Tesco Direct delivery service this month too, as retailers start to tighten their belts. 

 

Game Centre was the recipient of seven MCV Awards for Best Independent Retailer, including 2018's award, while managing director and co-founder Robert Lindsay was a consistent presence at many UK games events.

It's been a rough time for UK games retail. Grainger Games closed 67 stores back in March while Cheshire-based online outfit GameSeek closed earlier this month, leaving several customers in the lurch with their purchases.

 

 

It's a shame. I was part of the team who setup the Dumfries store in 2012 and worked there until the end of 2014. It was fantastic at first, but was starting to change big by the time I left. Shitty practices like selling pre-orders on eBay if the value went above RRP (and cancelling the pre-order for the customer) started to happen. Then the stores started to get filled with toys, Warhammer, comics & posters, laptops & phones.

 

New games had really slim profit margins. I remember us selling Battlefield 4 with a 50p margin on every new copy sold.

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It was a much smaller chain than Grainger, with only 7 stores. There were plans to open another 4 as far back as 2013, but it never happened. There always seemed to be tight with money, as I said with the margins above on many new games. I also remember after the PS4 and XB1 release, a company bulletin came out saying everyone had to lose X% of their weekly contract hours for X months as they had over spent on stock for the new machines, and it was the only option outside of job losses.

 

 

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Shame. I remember when they got a US Gamecube with Rogue Squadron in the Kilmarnock indoor market stall. I was in watching it playing in black and white on the PAL tv in utter amazement. 

 

Just another victim of changing times I guess. 

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From what I've heard it was another case of the staff had no idea. They got into work this morning to be hit with the news before opening.

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22 hours ago, Mr Tony said:

until the end of 2014. It was fantastic at first, but was starting to change big by the time I left. Shitty practices like selling pre-orders on eBay if the value went above RRP (and cancelling the pre-order for the customer) started to happen. Then the stores started to get filled with toys, Warhammer, comics & posters, laptops & phones.

 

Isn't all this evidence that even as far back as then, things were getting pretty desperate? Grainger were loss making for several years before they had to finally admit defeat.

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1 minute ago, mushashi said:

 

Isn't all this evidence that even as far back as then, things were getting pretty desperate? Grainger were loss making for several years before they had to finally admit defeat.

 

I really think it was, yeah. Along with cutting hours of staff to afford the PS4 / XB1 launch stock and plenty of other things, it makes sense now in hindsight that the company was on its way out. I spoke to staff last night and they were saying everyone has been on minimum contract hours for about 6 months, so stores were running a Sunday with 1 staff member, the rest of the week the stores would be run with 2 staff, but the second member coming in at 11/12 to save money on hours. Writing was on the wall when you think about it.

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That explains why the Clydebank branch had been cleared out and closed when I passed yesterday.

 

Have used them a few times and the staff were always really good. When they first opened they were great lots of stock, good prices, retro etc but in the last couple of years game space dropped to half the shop.

 

Only leaves GAME and CEX now....

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Where were they located? Know of the one in Killie and there was one in Ayr which my brother regularly visited - think I only went there once and bought Sleeping Dogs from them. 

 

No closing down sale? :ph34r:

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Never heard of them :(

 

Did they not bother expanding outside the central belt?

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I used the one in Hamilton a fair bit before mostly going digital. It was always full of grannies buying COD and GTA for their grandkids. They had a shop in Airdrie too. Decent wee shop that offered good deals and outlived GAME in Hamilton. 

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14 hours ago, Azrael said:

Where were they located? Know of the one in Killie and there was one in Ayr which my brother regularly visited - think I only went there once and bought Sleeping Dogs from them. 

 

No closing down sale? :ph34r:

 

Kilmarnock, Ayr, Hamilton, Clydebank, Dumfries, Paisley, Airdrie.

 

No sale. Shops have been cleared already.

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14 hours ago, Simmy said:

Never heard of them :(

 

Did they not bother expanding outside the central belt?

 

Nope. There were plans to push over toward Edinburgh and in the borders a bit more when I was there, but they always got delayed & pushed back. 

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Just found out what happened this morning.

 

The company upgraded their warehouse at the end of last year hoping that carrying more stock would bring more cash in.

 

It didn't. They were losing close to 20k a month the since January. The staff didn't know.

 

The week before closure, the owners met with the administrators, again, no staff knew.

 

Staff went home Saturday night as normal. The owners cleared all of the shops over night. Staff still had no idea.

 

Staff came into work the Sunday morning to find the shops had been totally emptied. No notes nothing. The Dumfries branch manager thought that they had been burgled and phoned head office in a panic. Only then was he told that himself and his staff were losing their jobs that day.

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12 hours ago, Mr Tony said:

Just found out what happened this morning.

 

The company upgraded their warehouse at the end of last year hoping that carrying more stock would bring more cash in.

 

It didn't. They were losing close to 20k a month the since January. The staff didn't know.

 

The week before closure, the owners met with the administrators, again, no staff knew.

 

Staff went home Saturday night as normal. The owners cleared all of the shops over night. Staff still had no idea.

 

Staff came into work the Sunday morning to find the shops had been totally emptied. No notes nothing. The Dumfries branch manager thought that they had been burgled and phoned head office in a panic. Only then was he told that himself and his staff were losing their jobs that day.

 

That is shocking!

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Our business is failing so let's buy more of what we are failing to sell is crazy.

 

I used to frequent the shop in Hamilton and the staff were always excellent.

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2 hours ago, Mawdlin said:

Our business is failing so let's buy more of what we are failing to sell is crazy.

 

I used to frequent the shop in Hamilton and the staff were always excellent.

 

Yeah, the staff in most of the stores were pretty sound. It reminded me of old Game Station days. No solid targets, laid back staff etc.

 

From what I've been told they were banking on Funko Pops being about 15% of their income in the final months. Crazy.

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It's such a shitty thing to do to your staff, if they went to sign on today they won't have any money for 2-3 weeks and are they even going to get what they are owed in wages? Absolute dogshit treatment of staff that is.

 

Remember when Game went bump back in 2012 and the CEO had a million pound payoff while they were laying off staff left right and centre? No justice man, makes my piss boil

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3 minutes ago, Down by Law said:

It's such a shitty thing to do to your staff, if they went to sign on today they won't have any money for 2-3 weeks and are they even going to get what they are owed in wages?

 

The manager was promised a week wages, un-used holidays paid & 2 extra weeks. He got 1 week pay.

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What is the benefits to a company, no matter how suspect, of telling your staff ON THE DAY that they are sacked?

 

Just that they keep working unaware until the bitter end?

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3 hours ago, Mr Tony said:

 

The manager was promised a week wages, un-used holidays paid & 2 extra weeks. He got 1 week pay.

How is that even legal? I know things can be different in Scotland (because Scotland), but UK Law for England and Wales actually puts employees near the top of the list for people owed money when it comes to businesses going bust. 

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44 minutes ago, Simmy said:

What is the benefits to a company, no matter how suspect, of telling your staff ON THE DAY that they are sacked?

 

Just that they keep working unaware until the bitter end?

 

I don't think the benefits justify the approach. Arguably though you'd maintain a motivated workforce until the very end.  Possibly prevent any last minute theft? 

 

In the grand scheme though, I wouldn't have thought it would make any material difference.  It is just a shitty thing to do. 

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7 minutes ago, McCoy said:

 

I don't think the benefits justify the approach. Arguably though you'd maintain a motivated workforce until the very end.  Possibly prevent any last minute theft? 

 

In the grand scheme though, I wouldn't have thought it would make any material difference.  It is just a shitty thing to do. 

 

Oh yeah I totally agree with the last part, definitely. I just wondered why they'd do it.

 

Awful practice at the end of the day.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

How is that even legal? I know things can be different in Scotland (because Scotland), but UK Law for England and Wales actually puts employees near the top of the list for people owed money when it comes to businesses going bust. 

 

Was promised on the phone, not in writing. No evidence I guess.

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On 08/07/2018 at 13:48, Mr Tony said:

Just found out what happened this morning.

 

The company upgraded their warehouse at the end of last year hoping that carrying more stock would bring more cash in.

 

It didn't. They were losing close to 20k a month the since January. The staff didn't know.

 

The week before closure, the owners met with the administrators, again, no staff knew.

 

Staff went home Saturday night as normal. The owners cleared all of the shops over night. Staff still had no idea.

 

Staff came into work the Sunday morning to find the shops had been totally emptied. No notes nothing. The Dumfries branch manager thought that they had been burgled and phoned head office in a panic. Only then was he told that himself and his staff were losing their jobs that day.

 

This is shocking on so many levels. Clearly their idea of carrying more stock is quite easy to validate, isn't it? Are you frequently running out of inventory and are customers inquiring? 

The treatment of staff is simply pathetic.

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3 minutes ago, alex3d said:

 

This is shocking on so many levels. Clearly their idea of carrying more stock is quite easy to validate, isn't it? Are you frequently running out of inventory and are customers inquiring? 

The treatment of staff is simply pathetic.

 

I don't know if it was much different than when I was at the company, but when I worked there margins were razor thin on everything bar pre-owned. You're looking at about 50p on new games / accessories etc. They started trying things like warhammer, comics, pinball machines, PCs, finance options, clothing, hosting games club nights (magic / pokemon go etc) and more. Except retro games / consoles, nothing stuck around so I assume nothing they tried made money.

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7 minutes ago, Mr Tony said:

You're looking at about 50p on new games

That sounds like nonsense.

 

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6 minutes ago, yashiro said:

That sounds like nonsense.

 

 

Nope. We could see the profit margins in store (So we could work out staff discount which was Cost + VAT + £1). An example I always use was Battlefield 4 on Xbox. Cost us £37. Then we would have to pay 20% VAT on it. Total cost £44.40. We'd sell it at £44.99 so we were competitive against GAME / Supermarkets / Online.

 

The money would be made encouraging people to trade it in for £30 a week later. We could then sell it at £40 and loop over & over.

 

Edit:

Xbox One was another too. At launch with a cost of £430, we made about £10 profit per unit.

 

There's hardly any money in new games.

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