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UK Retailers Report Holiday Sales Performance

Officials from major British specialty game retailer GAME Group Plc and British High Street entertainment retailer HMV have reported holiday season results, highlighting double digit rises in sales and overall positive performance by the British retail ma
Officials from major British specialty video game retailer GAME Group Plc and British High Street entertainment retailer HMV have reported each company's respective financial results, which include the recent holiday season, highlighting overall positive performance by the British retail market in the lead up to the close of 2006. Following earlier news that overall market performance in the region had increased a slight 1 percent over 2005's record figures, GAME Group Plc officials noted that the dominant retail outlet saw total group sales for the six week holiday period ending January 6 climb 20.9 percent, while like-for-like sales increased 15.6 percent. In addition, the group also noted that sales for the entire 49 week stretch ended January 6 were up 23.3 percent, while like-for-like sales rose 15.4 percent for the period. The company further added that it expects gross margin percent for the year to exceed expectations and come out ahead of what was posted in 2005. In addition, company chairman Peter Lewis noted in a statement released today that the retailer's holiday performance was “excellent particularly given the very strong comparatives for the previous year when the Microsoft Xbox 360 launched.” The executive added that strong demand for multiple formats, in particular Nintendo's DS Lite and the newly released Wii, which shipped in Europe on December 8. Similarly, representatives from HMV, which has a large section devoted to video games alongside its chief sales of music and videos/DVDs, have reported the company's interim results for the 26 weeks ended October 28, during which total group sales increased 10.3 percent, while like-for-like sales declined a slight .8 percent. Much of the firm's performance for the period was guided by multiple initiatives that were introduced during the first half of the year, including introducing simplified, lower prices, and adding focus on the company's e-commerce portals. Looking to game sales in particular, sales of software by the company's UK & Ireland division increased by more than one percentage point, and were driven by strong sales of titles for the Xbox 360, PSP, and Nintendo DS. In addition, HMV Canada introduced games software and hardware consoles into 22 of its largest stores during the period, and in the lead up to Christmas game sales had made up 5 percent of sales at these locations. However, HMV representatives note that the company continues to view the environment in which it competes as “difficult”, with the company's chief executive Simon Fox noting in a statement, “The actions the Group has taken to improve its competitive position are yielding benefits, but these are not sufficient to offset the profound changes taking place in our markets. We will do more to build upon the initiatives taken in 2006 to drive the business forward, and we will be updating the market with those plans in March."

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