Sales at specialist retailer GAME are down compared to last year, with the UK and Ireland business seeing a decline of 14.7 per cent for the 44 weeks to December 4, and like-for-like sales down 12.2 per cent.

Overall group sales were down 8.8 per cent (like-for-like down 7.9 per cent) and international sales were up 1.2 per cent (like for like down 1.5 per cent).

Although the retailer claims to have maintained its market share, the drop in numbers comes during a period that saw games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and FIFA 11 break records on release.

According to GfK Chart-Track figures as of December 4, the installed base of "third generation consoles" (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS and PSP) is now 32.4 million units, and year-to-date hardware revenues are down 26 per cent compared to last year.

Sales of second hand titles at GAME now account for 25 per cent of revenues, up from 21 per cent in 2009.

"As we enter the key Christmas period, we have seen some positive indicators in the market," said chairman Peter Lewis. "Strong and innovative products are launching well, there is a record installed base of consoles in each of our territories, and customers are responding positively to our specialist offer.

"However, the ongoing weakness in the market performance of hardware and casual gamer products means that we are maintaining our cautious outlook for the remainder of the current financial year.

"Our most significant weeks are still ahead of us, historically representing over 25 per cent of our annual revenues, and every part of our business is primed to deliver everything our customers need," he noted.