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Game Group losses more than double in 'tough' trading

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Losses at video games retailer Game Group have more than doubled in a "tough year" for the industry.

For the six months to 31 July it reported a pre-tax loss of £51.5m, compared with a £21.5m loss last year. Sales fell 10.5% to £558.8m.

Game blamed a combination of a cyclical low point for the games sector - while new hardware is developed - and a squeeze on consumer spending.

The company is hoping that the run-up to Christmas will boost sales.

Game Group usually makes most of its profit over the Christmas period. Potential bestsellers this year include football game FIFA 12, wargame classic Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and Assassin's Creed Revelations.

Chief executive Ian Shepherd said he was "under no illusion about the challenges we face in the remainder of the year".

Shares in the firm fell sharply in early trading, but by midday had bounced back.

Directors of the group, which has 615 stores in the UK and the Irish Republic, have committed themselves to the recovery by agreeing to spend at least 20% of their salary and fees to buy shares over the next 12 months.

Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers, said: "In a tough sector, Game remains in a particularly difficult place. A lack of new blockbuster games is being compounded by the consumer retrenchment."

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