GameStop is staying committed to its “de-densification plan,” which probably means curtains for at least 321 stores this year according to Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell.
On a recent earnings call, Bell said that he anticipates the chain closing as many or more GameStop stores in 2020 than the net 321 closures that it carried out in 2019.
The franchise is no stranger to struggle lately, suffering from tanking stock prices, sapped employee morale, and an embarrassing, unsuccessful attempt to classify itself as an “essential retailer” in California amidst COVID-19 lockdowns. However, Bell states that these closures are part of a proactive bid to optimize GameStop’s success rather than a sign of the times:
“We continue to focus on optimizing our global store fleet in fiscal 2019 and closed a net total of 321 stores inclusive of 333 closings and 12 openings. In fiscal 2020, we will continue in our efforts to de-densify our store base, focused on maximizing product productivity of the entire fleet.”
“[We] anticipate store closures to be equal to or more than 320 net closures we saw in fiscal 2019 on a global basis. Importantly, we want to emphasize that these store closures are a very specific and proactive part of our de-densification plan and they are not related to recent business trends.
We’ll find out in time if GameStop can reverse its fortunes. They’ve recently grabbed Reggie Fils-Aime for their Board of Directors, and trimming the fat in the form of closing a few hundred unnecessary stores seemed to help a little bit in 2019. Lately, though, everything the retailer does reeks of an exercise in futility. As I said, we’ll see what happens.