So yeah, Gamestop sucks

The Thinkgeek website is being closed in favor of the (shitty and boring) Gamestop website. If you ever wanted a plumbus, everything is half-off with the code plastered on the front page.

EDIT: if you were to put that $25 geegaw in your cart and enter the half-off code, you will end up saving only a couple of bucks off of MSRP thanks to the $8 shipping and sales tax. Maybe that’s why they are closing the site in favor of retail & the GS website.

Stumbled upon a CEX in Barcelona this week. Didn’t realise they had any Spanish outlets.

I read that as Spanish omelettes and now I’m hungry.

Of course Barcelona has Spanish omelettes, don’t be silly. And I stumble upon SEX all the time there.

They should have done the opposite. Rebrand to ThinkGeek with a small console section at the back.

Sports Direct, a retailer owned by corporate raider Mike Ashley, has acquired Game Digital (the UK and Spanish equivalent of Gamestop) for GBP 52m after building up bigger and bigger stakes over the last two years. He’s basically trying to take over the entire high street at the moment, having bought department store chain House of Fraser out of insolvency and having aggressive “rescue” offers rebuffed by Debenhams and various other collapsed chains.

Y’all, nothing to worry about - all is good!

This year’s E3 was dominated by new stores, including subscription outlets such as Xbox Game Pass, EA Access and Uplay+. It was about cloud platforms, with the incoming ability for people to buy games directly via YouTube and stream them immediately.

Such has been the rapid acceleration of digital, the fact that the next Xbox will have a disc drive was deemed newsworthy.

“No, it does not concern me,” insists GameStop’s VP of merchandising Eric Bright when questioned on the increasingly digital nature of the games business.

"GameStop is focused on games and gaming culture overall. Any way that we can look at monetising overall digital sales, we will. You can be assured of that given the fact that we have 65 million members in PowerUp Rewards, we’re no more than a skateboard ride away from 80 per cent of the overall population of the United States, and we have 45,000 of the most knowledgeable game associates, which are basically the distributed sales force for the entire industry, working for us.

“Our partners know that partnering with GameStop on all the new ways of monetisation are in their best interest, so we’re engaging in conversations with everyone as new formats come out. Much like we were able to sell digital and are able to sell digital codes in every single GameStop store and online today, as new subscription models come out and evolve, GameStop will evolve right along with it.”

[… ]“Through our pre-order mechanism, through our pre-sale mechanism, we can service you with the game the fastest and most efficient of any retailer that’s out there today. Part of the evolution is how we go from being the most efficient transactional retailer, and still keep the speed of transaction, to becoming the retailer that has the best overall experience while you are having that transaction. What’s not going to go away is the fact that our gaming associates are literally the most knowledgeable associates about this industry that work in a brick and mortar retailer in the world. I don’t think there’s anybody that comes close to that.”

Is he a raider, or is he giving people working for doomed companies a few more years wages?

It seems to be a choice with administration/no redundancy or giving you a few more years/months pay packets whilst you look for new work. Ive never seen the option where there is a better offer on the table than Ashley and his model, which i see akin to the smaller companies buying oil fields that are considered “used up” by the majors because its not economically viable for them to continue production.

I’m not saying it’s not better than liquidation, merely that his MO is to take stakes in failing companies, become a creditor on preferential terms, then at their point of greatest weakness make takeover offers that seem designed to give him personally the maximum benefit, and the companies in question just enough to survive for now. In this particular case, it’s pretty clear his plan is to shutter most of the standalone Game stores and basically make them kiosks in House of Fraser and/or Sports Direct. It’s not like he has bold strategic visions for the companies he acquires.

Also B&N is in full zombie mode already, they’re not going to last too much longer themselves.

True, although I have some hope that the new owners will give local stores enough flexibility to be viable. It helps books are not essentially a digital good just waiting for distribution to change, since ebooks failed to completely take over. We’ll see.

I bet their jettisoning of all that health insurance cost will help Barnes & Noble in the long run.

Speaking of Sports Direct

Shares are down 9% this morning.

I got an email from Gamestop yesterday. I have never gotten one before. I never signed up to receive any emails from them, however I did try impulse about a year after they acquired it, found it to be a piece of shit and never used it again. If that is the reason I got their obnoxious email they must really be desperate.

Pretty sure they are. A dying business model, zero goodwill, and like the idiots they are they dropped the one brand with any palpable consumer interest (ThinkGeek).

Sports Direct’s results are finally out and I’ve never read anything like them. Even for Ashley they’re spectacular.

I would love to read any analysis you feel like sharing.

I’m not sure how amenable it is to analysis, frankly, it mostly speaks for itself. There is however this remarkable attempt to put lipstick on a pig:

In other words, some of our suppliers are so appalled by the quality of stock they have to share space with they’re threatening to cut us off. As a result, we’re stockpiling supplies so we have anything at all to put on shelves, and we probably won’t be able to shift it all before it becomes completely outdated.

The rest, however, need no analysis.

On the CFO who resigned today:

Directly after discussion of a specific company and the FCA’s role in relation to it:

Picking a fight with politicians:

Picking a fight with unions:

Picking a fight with advisors

We bought a lemon, but it’s not our fault!

Oh yes and a EUR 700m tax bill, mentioned only in a footnote at the very end of the document.

Holy shit. That is a whole lot of words to say "we are super incompetent and this whole thing is literally on fire. Divest immediately, because leadership is madly narcissistic and divorced from reality. "

I get that about right?

The auditors are stepping down. Apparently SD didn’t tell them about that tax liability until “hours before it was due to sign off on its annual accounts”, according to the FT. Though it’s not clear whether they mean the original deadline or last Friday. Totally sounds like a a very well run business with far less corporate governance issues to deal with than the markets and the media have incorrectly smeared it with.