Stock bought cheaply from supermarkets is to be resold as full price pre-owned stock when the brand new stock runs out.
Leading British videogame retailer GAME has admitted that it gave permission to its stores to take advantage of a special launch offer that the supermarket Tesco ran on the 3DS in order to grab some cheap pre-owned stock. The supermarket was offering the handheld for just £175 – nearly £50 cheaper than GAME – when purchased with a £35 game.
GAME gave its staff permission to take enough money out of the register to buy five 3DS and game bundles, and then trade them back for to the store for the same amount as taken out of the register. GAME said that staff could make multiple trips to buy the bundles, but that no more than five could be bought in a single trip. The stock would then be marked up as pre-owned, but at the same price as a new system. Stock bought in this deal was apparently put to one side until all new stock had gone.
The scheme came to light after an anonymous GAME employee leaked the internal memo to Eurogamer. The memo from GAME’s top brass stressed that this was not mandatory, adding that stores should not compromise its own hardware launches, and it shouldn’t do it if it thought it would put staff at risk. The source noted, however, that while the memo said that buying the stock wasn’t mandatory, the store he worked for was reprimanded for not taking part.
A spokesperson for GAME seemed to challenge that comment though, saying that it was completely voluntary and that it only happened in a few places in the country. “Some of our stores wanted to move quickly last weekend to build their pre-owned stocks of 3DS at the same time as their local competitors, so we gave them a process to do that,” the spokesperson said. “It was not mandatory, and happened in small volumes.”
It’s not uncommon to hear about independent game retailers picking up stock from supermarkets, but it’s unusual to hear a major retailer doing it. GAME hasn’t technically done anything wrong – the stock is brand new, so selling it for full price is justifiable – but gobbling up stock from other retailers and then selling again at a higher price is bound to raise a few eyebrows.