UK-based Game Group has reported strong like-for-like sales in a trading update for the 22 weeks to June 30, with sales up 47% in the UK and up by 43% for its international operations in France, Spain, Sweden, and Australia. Profit before tax for the first half is predicted to be between £1 million and £3 million for the six months to July 31, before exceptionals. The acquisition of Gamestation in May and the launch of Sony Playstation 3 in March this year have, however, impacted on margins for the business—hardware sales achieve substantially lower margins than games. A store-opening program remains on track with 50 additional outlets—mostly outside the UK—planned before Christmas this year. Chairman Peter Lewis cautions that despite strong consumer demand, the UK trading environment, “continues to be very competitive with retailers expending the PC and video games offer to capitalize on the growing market.” Games operates 1,037 stores and concessions plus 28 franchise stores internationally.