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No winners as Game chain closes

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Employees Shane Boulger, Joe Fawson and Kim Kelly in
Blanchardstown Game store, Dublin, yesterday

Employees Shane Boulger, Joe Fawson and Kim Kelly in Blanchardstown Game store, Dublin, yesterday

Employees Shane Boulger, Joe Fawson and Kim Kelly in Blanchardstown Game store, Dublin, yesterday

VIDEO gamers will lose thousands of euro in gift vouchers and loyalty card points after a major chain of shops went into receivership.

The receivers of collapsed chain Game have confirmed customers can no longer cash in their gift cards at its 14 stores in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Monaghan and Athlone.

PricewaterhouseCoopers also said gamers can no longer earn points on their Game Reward and Gamestation Elite cards.

Customers face being left out of pocket after the chain announced 121 job losses when it closes all 14 stores in the Republic -- without making any redundancy payments.

The redundancies are part of a plan to slash over 2,000 jobs at 277 stores in the UK and Ireland.

"We have had to suspend Game and Gamestation gift cards," said a spokesperson.

"The value on these cards cannot be redeemed. If this changes, we will let you know. We apologise for the inconvenience this causes.

"Regarding what's outstanding, we do not know this figure at this point in time."

The spokesperson was unable to say if the gift cards will be accepted at a later date.

Even so, they can only be cashed in in the UK, as all the stores here are closing.

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Meanwhile, Game staff became the latest workforce to stage a sit-in over redundancy payments, following similar protests at Vita Cortex and the La Senza lingerie chain.

Deputy manager at the Blanchardstown store, Kim Kelly, said staff were prepared to accept basic statutory redundancy despite some having up to 17 years' service.

Concerned

However, they want the company to pay the statutory payment, as otherwise they would face a long wait if they have to apply to the State.

She said they also wanted a payment in lieu of their legal notice period and are also concerned they will not get their final month's pay this Friday.

"There are no tills in the shop any more but we've had a lot of regular customers coming up to the shop to see what they can do with their store and gift cards," Ms Kelly said.

"I think those with euro gift cards will be left with nothing. A lot of the stores in Ireland are profitable but Game felt it wasn't worthwhile to continue. I think if they had renegotiated rents they could have survived."

Staff at the St Patrick Street branch in Cork stayed there overnight, while staff at a store in Mahon Point, Cork, returned in the morning to begin their protest.

The computer game retailer has been struggling to compete, partly due to an influx of free and cheap games on smartphones.


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