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Tuesday, 18 January, 2000, 11:38 GMT
Is Lara Croft losing her touch?




Has the unthinkable happened - has the doyenne of computer games, Lara Croft, had her day?

Eidos, the UK computer games company famous for its Tomb Raider series featuring the voluptuous Lara, has reported slower than expected Christmas trading and issued a warning about its full-year results.


Star of Tomb Raider: still selling well says Eidos

It said profits for the year ending 31 March 2000 would be significantly down on last year.

The news will prompt analysts to slash their forecasts, having previously estimated the headline figure to come in at about 53.6m.

Wimbledon-based Eidos blamed a combination of product delays and disappointing sales for the downward revision. Its shares slumped 13.88, or 36%, to 25.00 following the warning.

Lara's not dead yet

The company said the latest version of Tomb Raider - The Last Revelation - and also Championship Manager 99/00, had performed well in the quarter to 31 December.

But it said other titles had been weaker than expected, with sales particularly slow in France and Germany - traditionally strong markets.

It said thirteen titles would be released before the end of the financial year, with four delayed until the following year, and that it was poised to capitalise on the launch of next generation platforms such as Playstation 2.

It is also continuing to expand its support for the Dreamcast and GameBoy Color platforms.

Discounting

Last week, games retailer Electronics Boutique said the value of its Christmas sales had plunged 18% because of heavy discounting.

Chief executive John Steinbrecher said games previously sold for 34.99 and above had been cut to 29.99. But he said he did not expect prices to go down any further.

The company's statement came after trading statements from Dixons and Kingfisher also revealed discounting during the Christmas period.

Dixons, the UK's biggest electronics retailer, saw a 5.5% increase in sales over Christmas but said it had been forced to slash prices on games consoles and VCRs, putting pressure on profit margins at its retail outlets.

Increased competition has become the driving force in retailing, with online sales rapidly eating into the market share of traditional outlets, particularly in the electronics goods sector.

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See also:
20 Dec 99 |  Business
Christmas video games war
24 Nov 99 |  Business
Losses double at Eidos
24 Nov 99 |  Business
Dreamcast beats Playstation record
11 Nov 99 |  The Company File
Sega raided in price fix probe
29 Sep 99 |  The Company File
Sega users to play stock markets

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