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New consoles boost Christmas sales at retailer Game

A controller of a Playstation 4 is pictured at the Sony exhibition stand during the Gamescom 2013 fair in Cologne August 21, 2013. REUTERS/I
A controller of a Playstation 4 is pictured at the Sony exhibition stand during the Gamescom 2013 fair in Cologne August 21, 2013. REUTERS/I

LONDON (Reuters) - Game, a video games retailer bought out of administration by private equity investors last year, reported a significant rise in Christmas sales helped by new console launches ahead of a possible return to the stock market.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that Game was close to appointing advisors for an initial public offering expected to take place later this year, with HSBC, Canaccord Genuity and Liberum Securities likely to co-ordinate the float.

The British company declined to comment on a possible float when asked by Reuters.

The video games retailer reported a 83 percent rise in total sales in the six weeks to Jan 4, with a 213 percent in online sales.

Like-for-like store sales, which strip out the closure of shops, rose 90 percent it said. Around half of the chain's roughly 600 UK premises have closed since April 2012.

Chief Executive Martyn Gibbs said two new games consoles, both released in November, had helped boost sales during the festive period.

"This strong overall performance for our second peak trading period was driven by our ability to capitalize on the hugely successful launches of Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4," he said.

"This was supported by the release of well-received new games, significant growth in online and digital sales and the continued success of our pre-owned games offering."

The firm, which employs approximately 3,000 staff in 320 stores, appointed PwC as its administrator after failing to find a buyer for the business in March 2012, and is now owned by private equity investors including OpCapita.

(Reporting By Costas Pitas and Neil Maidment, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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