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Can this legendary Nintendo exec save GameStop from the retail apocalypse?

3 weeks ago by Jared Russo in Retail

Former President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime, former CEO of Walmart Bill Simon, and current CEO of PetSmart JK Symancyk all joined the board for GameStop ($NYSE:GME). Fils-Aime is the only one of the three who worked in the video game industry, and holds considerable clout with both business executives and fans alike. 

Although this is mostly a symbolic gesture, and we aren't really sure how much say these three new board members will get in real decisions, the move was made to appease both shareholders, investors, and anyone who is concerned about the gaming retailer. There's a lot to be worried about, from the hasty plan to reconceptualize and redesign stores, the threat of digital distribution, next-gen consoles being delayed from later this year, and a lot more.

If you subscribe to our data, you can see that the actual number of GameStop's store count fell 21% from November 2019 to March 2020. Lots of ThinkGeek branded stores are being merged and combined with GameStops to sell more merch and toys, instead of physical copies of games.

Just for some perspective, the past four years have seen an increase in employees by 41%, and the stock falling by 84%. Yikes.

These social charts just go to show how bad the brand has been doing over these last four years, where purchasing has moved to online distribution models and less people go into a physical store. Even Game Informer, the magazine purchased by GameStop, has been bleeding staff, Facebook Likes, and Twitter followers.

These last two charts characterize the decline in growth for GameStop on both Facebook and Twitter. It's going to be a problem if going forward, fans actively unfollow, unlike, and unsubscribe to GameStop social media. Less eyeballs for deals, promos, sales, and in-store events. Less people walking into the store, less money, all of that just equals a bad time for retail. But we aren't smart for pointing that out, we're just being honest with what we see in the data.

GameStop is on life support, and adding celebrity members to its board as a symbolic gesture do nothing in reality. There's a tough road ahead for the company, and with so many obstacles it's only a matter of when, not if, GameStop has to shutter even more stores, with or without Reggie on its board.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Jared Russo

Jared is an editor for Thinknum, and has been writing for more than a decade. He previously worked at AOL, Vice, Google, Dotdash, and Sirius XM.

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