GameStop Closing At Least 150 Stores This Year Amid Falling Sales

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Efforts by GameStop to drum up business — through the phenomenon that was Pokemon Go and diversifying its portfolio by acquiring more than 500 new AT&T dealer stores — were no match for consumers’ changing preference for digital downloads over physical copies. To that end, the struggling retailer will close at least 150 stores by the end of the year. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the retailer will close 2% to 3% of its more than 7,500 stores around the world, but did not specify which locations would be closing.

The plan to close stores was revealed after GameStop reported sales that had dropped by double digits in the fourth quarter.

Overall, the WSJ reports that fourth-quarter profit fell 16% to $208.7 million, while sales dropped 14% to $3.05 billion.

In its U.S. stores, the WSJ reports, that comparable sales fell 13.5% in the just-ended year, including a 20.8% decline for the most recent holiday season.

CEO J. Paul Raines said on a conference call Thursday, as reported by the WSJ, that the declining sales were partially due to holiday season discounts that materialized earlier than expected, “leading to a steep decline in retail pricing.”

Despite the falling sales, GameStop is holding out hope that newly released gaming consoles will boost its bottomline.

In fact, Raines noted on the call that Nintendo’s Switch has “provided a dramatic lift in traffic in stores and has real potential to be Wii-like in its ability to expand the gaming category from core to broad audiences.”

Still, the company isn’t putting all its eggs in one basket: The WSJ reports that the company will continue to expand its non-gaming business. Those plans include opening an addition 35 collectible stores this year, adding to the 86 locations already open.

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