Shock closures rock games store icon
AT LEAST 19 EB Games stores across the country will shut down within weeks after an email confirming the closures was sent to members of the popular video game chain.
It appears the gaming icon is facing an uncertain future, with a list shared by OzBargain confirming most states and territories would be affected by closures.
An EB Games outlet in Majura Park in the ACT, for example, will fold on January 25, while NSW branches in Blacktown, Rockdale, Winston Hills and Birkenhead Point will also shutter.
In Queensland, the Inala, Bribie Island, Underwood and Cleveland stores are earmarked for closure along with those in Adelaide City Cross, Brickworks, Hallett Cove and Harbourtown in South Australia, Dianella and Kalamunda in Western Australia and Dandenong, Docklands and potentially Hamilton in Victoria.
Major sales of between 20 and 60 per cent off are now believed to be under way at these locations, the majority of which will shut up shop over the upcoming Australia Day long weekend.
EB Games is owned by GameStop, the world's biggest video game retailer, which is in the grip of a sharp decline that has been evolving over several years.
Last year it's share price plummeted from $US16 in January to just $US5 in July, with the downturn blamed largely on online competition.
The company confirmed the looming closures in a statement sent to news.com.au.
"Like all businesses, we are constantly evaluating our property portfolio to ensure that our store mix is in-line with the ever changing retail landscape," the statement reads.
"After careful consideration we will be closing 19 unprofitable stores at the end of January. Where possible, staff were offered the opportunity to work in surrounding stores.
"In exciting news, 2020 will see EB Games continue to open more large format stores that combine the power of both the EB Games and Zing Pop Culture. These hybrid stores, combined with our strong omni-channel offering, six million loyalty members and 300+ locations across Australia, will see EB Games continue to be one of Australia's largest specialty retailers."
News of the closures have created a stir on social media, with Twitter users pointing out the writing appeared to be on the wall.
"Yeah I don't see them being around much longer unfortunately. Hope they all find work though," one Twitter user wrote, while another posted: "It's like Blockbuster. Hard for them to compete against online and other big retailers like JB hi fi who do it cheaper. Will be a sad day when it comes, loved going to EB games as a kid!"
"The main shopping centre stores will probably continue for a while still but yeah at least in QLD the 4 closing are all in low income or out of CBD areas where business is likely low already," another person wrote.
This week it was revealed McWilliam's Wines - the country's sixth-largest wine company that has been run by the same family for more than 140 years - had appointed voluntary administrators.
That shock news comes after a horror 2019 that brought the collapse of a slew of Aussie businesses, with some international players also folding in recent months.
Last January, menswear retailer Ed Harry went into voluntary administration, and a week later, Aussie sportswear favourite Skins also revealed it was on the brink of failure after applying for bankruptcy in a Swiss court.
At the end of the month, the Napoleon Perdis beauty empire announced the cult make-up chain's 56 Aussie stores had closed for stocktake. Administrators were appointed, and scores of stores have since collapsed.
Footwear trailblazer Shoes of Prey also met its demise in March last year along with British fashion giant Karen Millen, which in September revealed it would soon shut all Aussie stores, leaving around 80 jobs in peril.
In October, celebrity chef Shannon Bennett's Melbourne burger chain Benny Burger was also placed into administration followed by seven Red Rooster outlets in Queensland just days later and then Aussie activewear sensation Stylerunner, which has since been sold to Accent Group Limited.
In November, it was revealed that popular furniture and homewares company Zanui was in trouble after it abruptly entered voluntary administration, leaving angry customers in the lurch.
Later that month, Muscle Coach, a leading fitness company, was put into voluntary administration after a director received a devastating diagnosis and the company racked up debts of almost $1 million.
Then it was the famous Criniti's restaurant chain's turn to enter into voluntary administration, with several of the 13 sites across the country set to be closed for good.
And just weeks ago fast-fashion staple Bardot also went into voluntary administration, blaming a "highly cluttered" and "increasingly discount-driven market", followed by Australian department store Harris Scarfe, which was placed into voluntary administration in mid-December.