Outlook for GameStop Weighs on Its Future

Paul Ausick

GameStop Corp. (GME) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 results before markets opened on Thursday. The video game retailer posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.90 on $3.68 billion in revenues. In the same period a year ago, the video game retailer reported EPS of $2.16 on revenue of $3.56 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.92 and $3.79 billion in revenue.

For the full year, GameStop reported EPS of $3.01 on revenues of $9.04 billion, compared with EPS of $3.17 and sales of $8.89 billion in 2012. The consensus estimate called for EPS of $3.03 on revenues of $9.15 billion.

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The company's CEO said:

The launch of new consoles in 2013 marked the return of innovation to the video game category and GameStop's market share increased to an all-time high. Our emerging digital and mobile businesses, which did not exist three years ago, surpassed $1 billion of revenue.

The company guided first quarter diluted EPS to a range of $0.55 to $0.60, compared with EPS of $0.46 in the year-ago quarter. The consensus estimate for the first quarter is $0.53. For the full year, GameStop expects adjusted diluted EPS of $3.40 to $3.70. First-quarter revenues are forecast to rise by 7% to 10%, and full-year sales are expected to rise 8% to 14%. The consensus estimate for full-year EPS is currently $3.76, and revenues are forecast to reach $9.85 billion, which is up about 9% from 2013 actual sales. Same-store sales for the full year are expected to rise by 6% to 12%.

Same-store sales rose 7.8% in the fourth quarter on the introduction of two new game consoles, the Sony Corp. (SNE) PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Xbox One.

The company also said it will close about 2%, or approximately 132, of its more than 6,600 stores in 2014.

Sales of new and used video games fell in the quarter, and the competition for those sales will now get stiffer as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) recently announced that it would allow customers to trade in old video games for any merchandise in the store. Selling video games on disk, new or used, is a dying business, and Walmart seems to want to make sure that GameStop feels the pain.

Shares were down about 6.5% in the first hour of trading, at $36.35 in a 52-week range of $25.25 to $57.74. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $50.60 before the results were announced.

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