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The GAME Group appears to have pulled off an amazing trading turnaround just three weeks after warning of disappointing pre-Christmas sales.

In a trading statement today the high street video games retailer reported that sales grew 7.5 per cent over Christmas in the UK, thanks to a late shopping surge.

The upshot is that GAME is predicting another record year and reckons pre-tax profits (before goodwill amortisation) will be slightly ahead of the £31.5m notched up last year.

What a difference a couple of weeks make. On December 17 the company issued a downbeat assessment warning that Christmas sales had been "disappointing". It added that like-for-like sales in December were down almost 5 per cent compared to the year before.

However, strong late Christmas trading had revered that decline.

By mid morning shares in GAME were up 13.6 per cent (5.25p) at 43.75p.

Yesterday, the UK games industry reported a record year with sales of leisure software and hardware reaching £2.07bn in 2002 - up eight per cent on 2001. ®

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