GameStop Plans to Save Itself by Doubling Down on Store Renovations

Tsing

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GameStop brass is pulling out all the stops to revive its failing retail business. The company has announced a partnership with design firm R/GA, which will attempt to increase foot traffic by renovating GameStop locations and imbuing them with unique in-store experiences.

In addition to a new, streamlined layout that makes it easier to shop, these stores will offer ways for gamers to try the latest titles before buying them. The press release also alludes to specially themed locations ("concepts that offer competitive sessions in home-grown e-Leagues to locations that sell strictly retro gaming software and hardware").

The partnership with R/GA’s Austin and Chicago teams is part of GameStop’s broader business transformation strategy to evolve its efforts in cultivating innovative customer-centric opportunities to bring video game culture to life in every neighborhood. GameStop’s renewed customer-first focus stems from qualitative and quantitative research led by GameStop and R/GA that identified four major motivations gaming fans have for playing video games – immersion, achievement, creativity and community.
 

SeymourGore

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Retro gaming might have some legs. I imagine it'll be similar to vintage vinyl record stores, not enough to sustain a big company like GameStop, but I imagine there's a smaller market there.
 

mtrupi

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I recently asked a GS employee how things were looking with so many game purchases being on-line now. He said they still do okay with games but mostly sell other game related merchandise. Except for the outer walls most of the store wasn't actually games.
 

xGryfter

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I have a feeling these execs don't quite understand why the store is failing.
Why would I waste my time driving to a store when I can just download the game and leave it at that? In most cases I can likely get the game for cheaper as well. If you want a physical copy and want it on day one many stores/websites offer day one delivery. I just don't see a reason to ever go into a GS unless it's a spur of the moment kind of thing.
 

Grimlakin

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Collectors editions midnight releases. That's it for me at least. My last two times were for that years ago.
 

alxlwson

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I go to GameStop once every couple years for a console release (if I can't wait a year for awesome Black Friday deals). Oh, I also go for their exclusive LEGO polybags they occasionally have
 

Dan_D

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With games going digital, Gamestop could stick with console hardware, acccessories and game related merchandise, but even so, I don't think that will support a chain as large as that one with so much overhead. Store renovations and spending your way out of debt doesn't make sense to me.
 

Nanobot

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Something tells me there's a hedge fund manager or PE firm that's attempting to pump and dump. GS has a lot of real estate that no doubt looks attractive to them.
 

JosiahBradley

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I waited at a GameStop before midnight for Skyrim to launch so I could get my first of 3 or 4 copies I have now lol. I really enjoy physical media and having a box for things I like, but for 95% of the games I have they are all digital and even come with digital soundtracks these days.
 

XGrifter

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Haven't been in a gamestop for over 2 years Last visit was 1 employee and a 30 min wait
 

Hagrid

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I have not been in one for so many years, I can't even remember. Online is so much easier.
 

SeymourGore

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Last time I went into one was to exchange a vanilla launch PS4 for credit towards a Nintendo Switch (can't remember what the credit was, but it was decent because it was a trade promo).

For me, that's the appeal for EB/Gamestop - trading in old hardware for decent credit. The trick being is keeping an eye on their flyers for when they have decent trade promos. Sure, reselling via Craigslist, or what have you, would have better profit - but Gamestop is much easier (and less likelihood of rape train).
 

Niner51

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I give them a year and they will be closing up. I'm all for having options other than online (which I agree is far easier), but they haven't had good business ethics at those stores for quite some time.
 

Grimlakin

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What they need to do is make the store a destination. With the minimum footprint these locations have that is difficult at best. BUT they are in a position to become a real go to location. To do that in my opinion they will need to do a few things.

1. Reduce the number of overall locations. For a while it seems like you see one next to every starbucks.

2. Increase the size of the locations. With storefronts suffering for businesses to lease the space they have this shouldn't be too bad.

3. Set up some consoles and PC's and start hosting events. Yes this is a material investment. But if they can get people in to play games they are more likely to buy games to take home. Also this helps parents find locations for their kids to go do something. Trust me I had a friend that ran his own gaming LAN center. It was PC focused and even had some virtual world pods for a while. It did good enough to break even but after 3 years he was done. Gamestop has a brand. They can energize the brand with locations like this and generate more people coming in to buy product.

Now the question is how do we know this will work? I give you Comic book/ Gaming stores that focus on the pen and paper style. Those that have become event centers and invested in the space/events to make this work are doing pretty well. Those that tried to focus on selling product are having a harder time and having to re work the layout of their stores to become more like an event location focused on their product.

Go to a MTG or Pokemon or other TCG event at one of these places. They are like mini conventions even with people showing up in costume and such because that has become such a thing. It's a win win for the stores. More foot traffic = more sales = more profit.

Gamestop would probably over do it by trying to saturate the market with locations when in truth if they did a smattering of locations with decent advertising and flyers and such in the other locations they don't convert but keep it would be good.
 

Grimlakin

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For computer and console gaming away from home. How many parents enjoy having their teen and their 3 or 4 close friends up all night guzzling sodas and not letting them sleep?

My friend did lock in events for the teens and such and every single one was sold out every time. He could do them every weekend during the summer and kids would be there hanging out all night spending money and playing games. It was crazy.

So yes they can be a profitable destination. Just gotta do it right.
 
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