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GameStop Testing Movie-Only Stores

18 Oct, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

“Thank you for calling MovieStop, home of the free new release.”That's the perky greeting heard upon calling one of the new all-movie stores that GameStop has been quietly testing in the Southeast since late August.

MovieStop stores buy, sell and trade new and used DVD and VHS movies, but do not have rentals. The stores offer a $19.99 DVD free to anyone who trades in three used major studio titles on DVD. Prices on used tapes are as low as six for $20. For DVDs without cases or liner notes, the chain sells five for $20, the same price as Blockbuster's Movie Trading Company stores.

MovieStop buys discs for cash or store credit, but pays 20 percent more in store credit than in cash, employees said. The stores pay consumers 50 cents each for most VHS titles and $1.50 for DVDs without packaging; DVDs with all their packaging are worth between $3 and $8 for most titles.

GameStop registered the MovieStop trademark in August and has opened just four stores since — two in Georgia; one in Largo, Fla.; and the newest store in Midlothian, Va. — although one source said the company has “an aggressive store-opening schedule.”

The chain launched the concept in the Atlanta suburbs — also the area where Blockbuster opened its first Movie Trading Company stores outside of Texas after it bought that chain.

A GameStop spokesperson was not available for comment by press time, but government filings indicate that stores may sell DVD players and recorders, computer hardware and accessories, toys, trading cards, action figures, books and strategy guides; and that the company may also launch a MovieStop Web site. Grapevine, Texas-based GameStop registered the name late last year and the logo in August.

GameStop stores also trade in some DVDs, but the selection tends to be small and focused on anime and science-fiction movies that have a lot of appeal to gamers. Other documents indicate the chain may begin marketing movies at its core stores more aggressively. The company registered tagline trademarks for “GameStop and Movies Too!” and “The Movie Never Ends at GameStop” in May and June, respectively.

The new venture isn't surprising, as specialty chains seek to expand. Blockbuster Video has launched its Game Rush stores-within-stores and recently bought the Rhino Games freestanding chain. Hollywood Video has been opening nested and freestanding Game Crazy stores, and Movie Gallery is testing its Game Zone concept in some stores.

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