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Blockbuster Rolling Out Game Rush Stores

14 Sep, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

Blockbuster Video is rolling out its Game Rush store-in-a-store concept at Southern California stores, with launch parties scheduled for five sites this weekend. A total of 77 Game Rush outlets are slated for Southland stores this fall and 400 nationwide by the end of the year.

Big Blue has been expanding its presence in the games market in recent months, with the acquisition of Rhino Games in the Southeast and aggressive expansion of the Game Rush concept (VSM, Aug. 8-14, p. 11). The expansion is designed to improve Blockbuster's position and market share in the growing console games and games-trading markets, where chains like GameStop and EB Games already have a foothold.

Each Game Rush is about 900 square feet and offers new and used games, game consoles, accessories, and gaming and game literature, action figures and other gaming collectibles. The mini-stores also have interactive stations for live gameplay so gamers can try before they rent or buy. The Game Rush staff is avid gamers who know the games and share their knowledge, according to the company. All video and PC games in U.S. Blockbuster stores display the ESRB ratings, and Blockbuster does not carry “adult-only” or “rating-pending” games.

The new Game Rushes will be featured in grand-opening ceremonies at locations in Cerritos, West Covina, Whittier, Torrance and West Hills, Sept. 17 through Sept. 19.

“Game Rush was developed in direct response to consumer demand,” said Thibault de Chatellus, SVP and category general manager for games at Blockbuster. “The design of the concept, integrated within a Blockbuster store, enables us to take advantage of our existing store traffic, while leveraging our existing operating expenses and capital investment.”

Marketing support will include in-store and out-of-store marketing throughout the fourth quarter. Executives hope Game Rush will help capitalize on growth in game trading by letting customers to swap game software and hardware for store credit that can be used at any Blockbuster store.

“Game trading is a great way for customers to save when they look for a new gaming challenge by trading up for the hottest new games or choose from a vast selection of quality-guaranteed, previously played games,” de Chatellus said.

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