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US-based video game and consumer electronics retailer GameStop has announced plans to close between 2% and 3% of its global store footprint this year, which represents at least 150 outlets.

The company’s latest move follows increasing competition and digital sales.

GameStop also expects to open 35 new collectibles stores worldwide and 65 new technology brand stores.

GameStop CEO Paul Raines said: “GameStop’s transformation continued to take hold in 2016, as our non-gaming businesses drove gross margin expansion and significantly contributed to our profits. Meanwhile, the video game category was weak, particularly in the back half of 2016, as the console cycle ages.

“Looking at 2017, technology brands and collectibles are expected to generate another year of strong growth, and new hardware innovation in the video game category looks promising.

“As we continue our transformation plan, we will also be focused on managing SG&A spend, rationalising our global store portfolio, and maximising free cash flow generation to drive shareholder value.”

“GameStop’s transformation continued to take hold in 2016, as our non-gaming businesses drove gross margin expansion and significantly contributed to our profits."

The company did not make it clear as to which stores will be affected or when the closures are set to take place.

For the fourth quarter ended 28 January, the company’s total global sales decreased 13.6% to $3.05bn, while consolidated comparable store sales declined 16.3% (-20.8% in the US and -4.6% globally).

GameStop operates more than 7,500 stores across 14 countries.


Image: Gamestop shop front inside a mall. Photo: courtesy of BentleyMall via Wikipedia.