GameStop Will Close Over 120 Stores To Pursue Apple and Cell Phone Businesses

By Alex Wolfe , Updated Apr 24, 2014 04:19 PM EDT
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GameStop is apparently going to close down 120 brick and mortar stores in the near future, deciding instead to focus on other emerging businesses, according to Games Industry International.

GameStop CEO Paul Raines spoke during GameStop's annual Investor Day yesterday, and revealed that the company will be looking to focus on "GameStop 3.0" in the coming months, a phase that will see GameStop moving away from strictly gaming and into the tech sphere.

Specifically, GameStop will be looking to expand two of its smaller businesses, Simply Mac (an Apple-only store and support center) and Spring Mobile (an AT&T phone store).

Simply Mac has thus far been entirely based on the west coast, with locations only stretching as far east as Missouri. There are currently only 23 locations for the store, compared with over 6,400 GameStop locations.

Spring Mobile is a little bigger, with over 150 locations currently all around the US.

GameStop is apparently planning to open way more stores than it's closing, with 200-250 more Spring locations on the way, 20-25 more Simply Mac stores planned and another 100-150 Cricket stores (which sell pre-paid phones).

As someone who used to work for GameStop until very recently, this isn't surprising. GameStop is attempting to turn more into a Best Buy-type store than a strictly games store, with the addition of electronics trade-ins and pre-owned and new electronics sales to all of its locations. Is 120 stores closing a huge deal in the grand scheme of things when you have over 6,300 more surviving? No, but it does signal that GameStop is looking to move in a different direction. A plus is that you can now trade your smartphones and used electronics in towards your games, but that would kind of be defeated if GameStop eventually starts moving away from games.

Actually, there was one point at the end of the GII piece that really stuck out to me regarding GameStop's future:

"As for how GameStop plans to extend itself into these new markets, Raines said the executive team had been paying close attention to previous companies that made similar leaps," GII reported. "He cited Williams-Sonoma as one such model, as the kitchen equipment retailer has successfully established or acquired brands such as Pottery Barn and West Elm. He also pointed to VF Corporation, which began by making underwear, but now owns Lee, Timberland, Wrangler, Jansport, and a number of other clothing brands. 

"Interestingly, Raines' presentation slide pointed out that VF Corporation eventually exited its original field when the company sold its underwear business to Fruit of the Loom in 2007."

Interesting, indeed.

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