Sales director for Electronic Arts UK, Keith Ramsdale, says grocery has provided the games publishers with a lucrative additional route to market.
He says a new consumer demographic of parents with younger children are being introduced to the concept of purchasing games in the supermarket, attracted by family-oriented entertainment zones. “The type of games buyer is different from the more specialist shops and will be drawn to highly recognised brands or franchises such as Lord of The Rings,” he says.
There is also evidence more traditional games buyers are spending more in grocery as stores stock a wider choice of titles.
EA is increasing its marketing activity with supermarket partners, with key Christmas titles including Fifa Football 2004, Harry Potter Quidditch World Cup, and the Return of the King.
“Around 70% of people who buy VHS and DVD videos in supermarkets are consumers who would not buy them anywhere else,” says 20th Century Fox retail controller David Stevens. “The market is increasing in size all the time and DVD will boost sales for everyone.”
He believes the supermarkets have preferred to remain chart and new release focused rather than struggle with the retailing complexities of a wide back catalogue.
“The grocers are investing more in creating extra depth to their displays so more copies of the biggest titles are available,” he says.
On the issue of day one compliance, Stevens believes Tesco has the best record of supporting new titles. “The supermarkets have been slow to realise the importance of first day sales and it has not been a priority for them.”
EMI Records is on a mission to increase the amount of back catalogue product sold in the supermarkets. For this Christmas it has convinced Tesco and Sainsbury to stock a specially produced range of back catalogue titles featuring triple and double CDs from artists such as David Gray.
The music industry believes both chains have struggled to compete with Asda in the amount of archive product available.
EMI has produced catalogue titles for Tesco in the past to support one-off promotions but Mike McMahon, commercial director, sales EMI Music UK and Ireland, says he is determined to convince the supermarkets of the merits of selling back catalogue throughout the year.
“We are urging all stores to review their catalogue range, pricing and promotions to ensure shoppers understand this part of the market better,” he says.