GameStop Corp. led its quarterly earnings report with the fact that its digital revenues increased 69 percent. A little further on, however, the video game mega-retailer fleshed out its status by stating total sales and comparable store sales were down, by 3.1 percent and 9.1 percent respectively.
Its shares initially fell by as much as 10 percent on the news. But once investors had a chance to think about what CEO Paul Raines had actually said, the price recovered and ended Thursday up 4.7 percent to close at $21.43 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Along with the jump in digital revenues, Raines pointed out GameStop’s 12 percent sales growth in high-margin used games as a highlight. A continuing weak economy should keep consumers interested in second-hand games’ lower price points, too.
Chief financial officer Rob Lloyd said in a statement, “Continued strength in pre-owned sales, improved gross margins, tight cost controls and capturing a high rate of sales transfers all contributed to our financial results.”
New software underperformed, however, as did sales of hardware. But there is hope for those categories, since the holiday season is approaching and upcoming titles like Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3 can safely be assumed to be popular sellers. The holiday will also help hardware sales, especially since Sony Computer Entertainment and Nintendo have lowered the price on their consoles.
GameStop’s five best-selling new games during the quarter were L.A. Noire by Rockstar Games, NCAA Football 12 by Electronic Arts, inFAMOUS 2 by Sony, Brink by Bethesda Softworks, and Mortal Kombat by Warner Home Video Games.
Paul Raines, chief executive officer, stated, “GameStop’s resilient retail model enabled us to achieve our earnings plan despite a challenging period for the industry. Through the back half of the year, we expect industry software sales to accelerate based on an exciting title line-up. Meanwhile, the digital and loyalty programs we have brought to market continue to gain traction with consumers and position us as a leading partner with publishers.”
GameStop’s second quarter sales and earnings call is archived at http://investor.GameStop.com until Sept. 18, 2011.