In its continued efforts to stay as optimized as possible in an unforgiving market, GameStop is now preparing to close as many as 450 stores across the United States. The news came out of an earnings call last Wednesday, in which Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell stated that closing extra stores will enable Gamestop to “more efficiently and profitably service [its] customers.”
Although the retailer has been struggling for years amidst the digital revolution and the rise of microtransaction-heavy games like Fortnite gobbling up market space previously held by lucrative used games, the COVID-19 pandemic probably hasn’t helped matters much, either. The 400-to-450-store forecast a sizable increase over the company’s original estimate of 320 store closings, but GameStop made that projection all the way back in March. You know, before lockdowns swept the nation and strained businesses everywhere.
Despite a major boost in online sales, the corresponding dearth in physical sales is hurting the company’s finances big time. It’s tough to know how many of these extra closures are a result of COVID and how many are just a result of GameStop’s years-long struggle against a changing games market, but the pandemic seems a likely cause given its nasty effects on retailers (and peoples’ wallets) across the nation.