Game Digital revenue declines despite boost from Fortnite

Retailer Game Digital saw sales fall in the first half, despite a boost to some categories from popular games like Fortnite.

Revenue dipped 4.7% to £492.9 million in the 26 weeks to January 26.

Sales of high-end accessories and licensed merchandise were boosted by Fortnite and other battle royale games, in a phenomenon the group said it anticipates replicating with the recently released Apex Legends.

But the continued downturn in pre-owned games took its toll, while hardware sales were weaker amid tough competition.

The group took the decision to reduce the amount of promotional activity over Black Friday week, resulting in lower sales.

However pre-tax profits were up 20.3% to £14.8 million.

The company said improved profitability was down to better margins and the delivery of £4.9 million in cost savings.

Chief executive Martyn Gibbs said: “During the period the UK retail business delivered further efficiency improvements and achieved considerable cost savings across all areas including store operating and fixed costs, distribution and head office costs.

“Our flexible lease profile gives us a unique opportunity to work closely with landlords to manage our store portfolio and we continue to deliver, and anticipate ongoing, rent reductions.”

The company is working to expand “Belong”, its leisure experience which allows shoppers to play games in store or watch competitions.

Mr Gibbs said the rollout could be aided by good deals with landlords, who are finding themselves short on tenants amid the retail crisis.

Shares in the company were up 5.26% in early trading on Thursday.