In a conference call with investors on Mar. 26, GameStop executives shared plans to close over 300 stores later this year. The retailer’s senior leadership team says this isn’t a reactionary measure to global store closures because of the coronavirus, but part of pre-existing plans to “de-densify” their retail locations. GameStop currently has over 5,500 stores in 14 countries.
According to a transcript obtained by The Motley Fool, Jim Bell, the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of GameStop, explained how they are selecting which stores will close. “This is a proactive process on our part. It’s where we see the probability for heavy sales transference from one store to another. We drop occupancy, we operate with one staff, we operate a far more efficient, far more profitable store,” Bell said.
Despite global store closures due to the novel coronavirus, sales were up at GameStop for March. Bell cites “increased demand for our products around the world,” as having driven profits over the last few weeks. Back-to-back launches of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom: Eternal indeed increased foot traffic for their stores.
GameStop drew criticism for declaring their stores to be “essential businesses” and defying city and state quarantine mandates. Employees nationwide complained of poor sanitation practices and leadership’s lack of regard for the health of frontline retail employees.