Grainger Games beats recession to roll out stores across North East
While many British companies have taken a battering from the recession, some home-grown businesses have bucked the trend and enjoyed growth in this economically depressed climate. Grainger Games, the games retailer which began life as a market stall in Newcastle’s Grainger Market fifteen years ago, has more than doubled in size since the financial downturn began back in 2008. The retailer now operates 68 stores across the North East, employing more than 300 people to work in its fast-expanding chain of shops.
Grainger Games’s success is even more remarkable given the number of high-street retailers that are finding it increasingly difficult to survive in an online or multi-channel world. The closure of many retail chains over the past few years has led to the loss of thousands of retail jobs, making Grainger Games’ growth welcome news for North East retail employees in particular.
So, what is the secret behind the company’s success? Grainger Games credits two business strategies for its rapid growth – the sales and discount deals for which the store is known, along with the outstanding customer service offered by staff. Despite massive competition from big retail chains, independent Grainger Games has consistently remained competitive on price. The company understands that its customers have the option of buying video games online so must offer deals to retain customer loyalty. It has recently introduced an online service which allows customers to sell back old games to the retailer, which is likely to further strengthen customers’ loyalty to the brand. Customers can use the service to trade in games, old iPhones, tablets and other electrical gadgets.
Aside from price, many customers are loyal to store staff and to the Grainger Games brand. The company trains staff to engage with customers in a friendly, informative, non-pushy way. Staff are incentivised through rewards such as holidays for going beyond the call of duty in delivering customer service. Morale boosting exercises include staff competing together in charity football tournaments and other sporting ventures. It has been described as ‘fast becoming the hot new company to work for in games retail’.
Worldwide, video games are now a £10bn industry with men in their teens, twenties and thirties buying most of the games. Similar to the movie and book industry (think Harry Potter or The Bourne Ultimatum), the games industry works by releasing sequels which develop the storyline of the best-selling games. The most popular video games around the world are the Grand Theft Auto series, which has just introduced Grand Theft Auto 5 and the Fifa series, which has recently released Fifa 13.
Back in Yorkshire, Grainger Games now has 13 stores, including branches in Leeds, Hull, Bradford and Huddersfield. The stores have created 50 permanent jobs in Yorkshire, and the expansion is likely to continue. The company is looking for suitable locations to open up additional stores in the area, so retail professionals should get their CVs ready for the arrival of a Grainger Games in a town or city near them.