Video game indies turn to toys

Stores embrace figurines and other toys to make up for low boxed video game margins.
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The challenged independent video games retail sector is turning to toys and gifts to survive.

In the search for higher margins, several respected names in the worlds of both High Street and online games retail have begun stocking toys and gadgets over the past 12 months.

Although most new boxed video games have an RRP of £49.99, because of the market’s aggressive discounting culture, the consumer generally expects to pay around £39.99 – meaning indies have to cut prices and sacrifice margins, or lose out on sales.

Xbite’s Nick Whitehead said: “We’ve expanded into other product ranges. With toys and gadgets, there’s no real price point that’s embossed in a consumer’s mind of what they should be paying for it. So there’s a better margin out there.

“The thing is, what do you do when a toy doesn’t sell? You get stuck with it, so stock management is critical. But certainly, games indies will have to diversify.”

Stephen Staley, MD of online retailer Gameseek, added: “Do you specialise in video games, or do you specialise in making money? The more diverse product range the better, as long as you don’t lose your identity. Besides, a lot of the toys we sell complement the games we sell.”

The owner of High Street store Extreme Gamez, Stuart Benson, believes a variety of products is key.

“It’ll be very hard to survive in the future unless you’re willing to totally change and open your mind to stocking completely different products,” he said.

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