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GameStop Holiday Sales Sluggish

8 Jan, 2003 By: Hive News

Specialty video game retailer GameStop Corp. saw a 9.4 percent dip in comparable store sales over the holiday period, sharing in the same economic woes that deviled other retailers, the company reported today.

Total sales for the nine weeks ended Jan. 4 were $420.4 million, a 1.6 percent decrease from the prior year holiday period of $427.3 million. Comparable store sales decreased 9.4 percent for the same period.

General weakness in the overall economy, coupled with six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, made for a challenging retail season; yet, GameStop total sales nearly matched last year's numbers, when comparable store sales increased 60 percent.

Total sales for the 48 weeks ended Jan. 4 were $1,252.8 million, a 21.1 percent increase over the prior-year period of $1,034.2 million. Comparable store sales increased 12.2 percent for the year-to-date period.

With a significantly increased installed base of video game consoles, video game software sales increased 22 percent during the holiday period, fueled by exceptional sales of games such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City from Take Two Interactive, DragonBall Z: Budokai from Infogrames, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell from UBI Software, WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth from THQ, and Madden NFL 2003 from Electronic Arts.

Based on results to date, the chain forecasts earnings per share for the fourth quarter will range from $0.48 to $0.52 per share, with comparable store sales in the -4 percent to -6 percent range. That equates to projected full-year earnings per share of between $0.83 and $0.87, consistent with guidance issued at the beginning of the fiscal year.

The company expects to release full-year sales results and fiscal 2003 earnings Feb. 19.

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