Video game retailer GameStop has seen better days. Coming off a 2019 holiday sales report with a 27.5 percent decrease in sales from the previous year, a new report suggests that employees are feeling the effects.
This comes from a recent article posted by Polygon with over a dozen interviews conducted with former and current employees. Each one that the outlet spoke to showed concern about the future of the company, especially with the decline of consumers. “I think they’ll close a thousand stores this year,” one former store manager explained. “They have to cut costs. The games retail market is dying.”
Another manager also spoke up, confirming dwindling visitors in their location. They explain that “customer traffic has dipped significantly in the past two years. Aside from some expected high-traffic days like Thanksgiving, Black Friday and major game release days, we’re missing our daily sales plans almost every single day.”
As a result, corporate members have begun to take “desperate” measures—and employees can see them coming. “The company is frantic and distrustful,” one assistant manager proclaimed. “You can feel it in every message they sent. The structure is falling apart and they’re scrambling.”
Part of that decline clearly comes from the popularity of digital games. One even went as far as to specifically blame Fortnite, saying it’s “killing the game industry.” As a result, “foot traffic is down,” though people still come in to purchase digital currency. Outside of that, however, “they almost never buy other games now.”
Pressure is on to not only increase pre-orders of certain games, but also the trade-in of tech like phones and tablets.
“If we aren’t hitting these company-set goals, we are getting written up,” a long-time employee confirmed. “They want us to hound customers about trading in their old cell phones and tablets. I recently had a visit from a senior manager who said that close [to hitting target] isn’t good enough. If you aren’t hitting the goals set, you are failing.”
Not to mention how the lack of money is affecting certain employees. One has become fearful of having to close the store by herself, due to no one else being scheduled. “The district manager told me to cut hours. I was opening and closing the store alone. I don’t like leaving the other employees to open and close on their own, so I did it.” She ended up eventually leaving the company as a result.
GameStop has been trying to turn around its misfortunes with sales events and a revamped Power Up Rewards program, changing its used game price structure and including a $5 certificate each month to all members. There’s no word yet on its success, but some noted disappointment with the change.
Despite all the negativity, some employees remain hopeful. “I really want to get a fair representation of GameStop out there,” one manager added. “I don’t think we’re all bad. We try to do an awful lot of good. I think [senior managers] have excellent intentions and are trying their best to try to steer us in that direction.” The real question is what they do next. The full article is available here, but it’s not an easy read.