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Rentailer Opening Game-Only Stores

4 Oct, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Blockbuster Video's nationwide canvassing of some 400 upstart Game Rush store-in-a-store video game outlets isn't deterring Bill Bradley.

The owner of 13 Bradley Video stores in northern California is expanding his business model to include up to seven new video Game Cage locations this year, including -- for the first time -- six stand-alone stores.

“It is an area of natural expansion for us,” Bradley said. “We've been renting games for 15 years to 18 years, so it is an extension to buy, sell and trade games. In our larger-volume video stores, [Game Cage] allows us to maximize our profits.”

Blessed with a self-described “really sharp wife,” who is also a realtor, Bradley said he lined up several prime locations for the stand-alone video game stores that included regional-type retail centers in the Sacramento area.

“I think it is a way for us to move some overflow product that we have in our video stores,” he said. “We are still trying to figure out how to do it in the most economical way. We will be selling previously viewed movies and some new titles in the game stores. It will just be a couple racks.”

With 150 employees, Bradley's mature stores generate about $900,000 each in sales annually, with Game Cage projected to increase revenue upwards of 30 percent, according to Bradley.

While some rentailers might chafe at the sight of a Blockbuster or Hollywood Video in their neighborhood, Bradley launched into games, emulating Hollywood's Game Crazy in-store concept, in two of his locations.

“We quickly found them outpositioned by a national competitor,” he said. “We realized that if we are the anchor in a little strip center and they are up the road in a regional center, we are outpositioned.”

As a result, Bradley switched in-store Game Cage outlets to his video stores in high-trafficked locations with other anchors, such as supermarkets.

“We study what the big guys do and what the little guys do,” he said. “We try and study everybody and see who has the best mousetrap going at the time.”

He said he can compete with the big guys on game sellthrough prices.

“You don't just have to move your ‘AAA' titles; you can make profit on the older stuff, and [national chains] are not beating me up on prices on those,” Bradley said.

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