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GameStop shares tumble after CEO says store network will shrink

REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID / 2022
                                A screen displays the logo and trading information for GameStop on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City.
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REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID / 2022

A screen displays the logo and trading information for GameStop on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City.

Shares of GameStop tumbled on Monday after CEO Ryan Cohen told investors that the videogame retailer plans to operate a smaller network of stores, but did not provide details on what it intends to do with its cash pile.

GameStop shares were down 11.6% at $25.38 on Monday afternoon after the annual general shareholder meeting, which lasted about 20 minutes.

Cohen said he anticipates the business will be operated with “a smaller network and more value-added” items as part of the company’s attempt to boost sales and profitability.

He did not reveal how the company will use its roughly $4 billion in cash, which it built up following share sales in June and May, saying only that having a stronger balance sheet is “always an advantage.”

Shares of the video game retailer have gyrated wildly over the last month since Keith Gill, the stock influencer known as Roaring Kitty who helped kick off meme-stock mania in 2021, reappeared and later disclosed a large position in GameStop.

Investors had been hoping that Cohen would reveal more details of a strategic plan to revitalize GameStop’s business, analysts said.

Cohen’s lack of detail on acquisition plans “is disappointing for at least some investors,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities with a price target of $13.50 on the company.

Pachter noted that GameStop’s recently released filings showed a profit margin of about 36%, suggesting the company is doing well in reselling used software and hardware. On the other hand, competition remains intense in the market for gaming consoles while the second-hand market for used software is slowly drying up as gamers shift to digital downloads, he said. The company has been grappling with slowing sales as its core business of selling new and pre-owned videogame discs takes a hit from consumers’ move to downloading games digitally or streaming. Net sales fell to $881.8 million compared with $1.24 billion a year ago, the company said on June 7.

GameStop raised $933 million by selling shares to cash in on a meme stock rally last month, when the stock doubled in value, and raised an additional $2.14 billion earlier this month. Still, shares are down sharply from their May peak and down more than 70% from 2021 intraday highs.

Gill triggered the most recent wave of exuberance among retail investors after he disclosed ownership of 5 million GameStop shares and 120,000 June $20 strike call options in a screenshot posted on Reddit on June 2.

Gill updated his position last week to show he owned about 9 million shares and no options on the company.

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