GameStop is permanently closing over 320 stores in North America this year. The news comes after they announced a 2% increase in profits for the month of March when compared to the same timeframe in 2019. The gaming giant closed 321 stores last year and is looking to do the same this year in an effort to "de-densify." As of now there are still 5,550 stores in North America, many of which that are still serving their communities through curbside pickup.
GameStop's CEO George Sherman made the store closing announcement during an earnings call earlier this week. As of which store locations will close and when, that is unclear at the moment, but there are going to be some employees who will lose their jobs this year. So far, 2020 has been off to a rocky start and many GameStop employees are already not working, due to social distancing efforts. It is believed that the store closures will happen gradually throughout the year and that employees will be told well in advance.
As for the 2% increase in sales during this period, that more than likely has to do with the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and DOOM: Eternal. These are huge releases that have helped the gaming market as a whole quite a bit. But, GameStop is also looking at the possible delay of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. All in all, it looks like it's going to be another rocky year for GameStop, which is unfortunately bad for the employees. All businesses are taking a major hit at the moment, though GameStop CEO George Sherman did not bring up the world's current situation as a factor when announcing further store closures.
GameStop was hit with severe criticism last week for keeping its video game stores open and claiming to be an essential business to the community. Corporate demanded that stores stay open and employees keep showing up, despite health concerns and promised they would deliver cleaning supplies. Those supplies never came and the store was forced to close after an internal memo leaked to the public, sparking outrage. Now, some of the stores remain to be open, offering curbside pickup of merchandise for those gamers who still need the service.
GameStop has seen the continuously changing gaming landscape morph rapidly. In-game purchases, being able to buy games directly through their consoles, and Amazon have started to take over the way people purchase games. There are still people who like to get the physical product in their hand, but they'll often head to Amazon where they can save a few bucks and have the game delivered in a quicker manner. While they have not announced which stores will be permanently closing, that news should be revealed in the coming months. The GameStop news was first reported by Game Industry.