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GameStop says holiday sales in comparable stores down 0.3 percent

GameStop said this morning its sales in comparable stores, those open at least a year, decreased 0.3 percent for the nine weeks that ended Dec. 31. That included a 0.3 percent U.S. increase and a 1.5 percent decrease in foreign stores.

Digital sales grew 60 percent, led by Call of Duty ELITE subscriptions for downloadable content.

Total copany sales of new video game software grew 9.9 percent, led by “strong” sales of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles  Those included Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls V. Skyrim, and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

New hardware sales declined 19.6 percent as “there were no new console products or low enough price points to stimulate consumer demand as in 2010.”

The pre-owned category increased 3.5 percent over last year’s holiday, and 7 percent year-to-date, “indicating that customers continue to respond positively to GameStop’s value proposition,” the company said.

GameStop’s “tablet and pre-owned mobile initiatives continue to resonate with consumers both online and in-store,” the company said.

During the holiday sales period, trades of mobile devices were 4 percent of total company trade volume.

GameStop said it now expects same-store sales for the fourth quarter and full year to range from down 1 to 2 percent.

GameStop said it is reiterating its previously announced fourth quarter and full year earnings per share guidance ranges of $1.66 to $1.76 and $2.82 to $2.92. That includes debt retirement costs; the company said it retired the last of its long-term debt in the most recent quarter.

“During the holiday, our solid sales performance of new high-def console software was offset by weak Wii software sales and hardware sales due to the lack of new hardware offerings versus the 2010 period,” Paul Raines, GameStop CEO, said. “We were pleased with the performance of our buy-sell-trade business, digital offerings and mobile initiatives. GameStop also retired the remainder of its long-term debt establishing a debt-free balance sheet as we go into 2012.”

- Scott Nishimura


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