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Digital death: Are GameStop, Blockbuster going down in identical dust?

Angelica Stabile

We are living in a digital world, but is anyone buying games in-store anymore?

Shares of gaming giant GameStop fell nearly 9 percent in midday trade Tuesday, in part, due to weak holiday sales, which led the company to cut its profit and sales forecast. The company reported holidays sales were 27.5 percent lower this year than during the 2018 holiday season.

GameStop CEO George Sherman said the dismal sales were a sign of industry trends.

“We expected a challenging sales environment for the holiday season as our customers continue to delay purchases ahead of anticipated console launches in late 2020," Sherman said. "However, the accelerated decline in new hardware and software sales coming out of black Friday and throughout the month of December was well below our expectations, reflective of overall industry trends."

MILLENNIALS EXCHANGING, SHOPPING BOOSTS POST-HOLIDAY SALES NUMBERS

GameStop's business relies on console gaming, while the number of disc purchases has declined due to the rise of digitally downloading games directly to a user's console.

GameStop is the largest video game retailer in the world with more than 5,700 stores, across 14 countries, according to its website.

The company announced in September plans to shutter up to 200 stores by the end of the year.

Similarly, the demise of Blockbuster came at the hands of streaming services -- like Netflix -- which ended a consumer's need to have a physical copy of a movie.

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A dominant brand during the late 1980s and 1990s, Blockbuster once had more than 9,000 stores in operation and raked in billions in annual revenue. The chain shut down its last company-owned store in 2014, and now only one Blockbuster survives in Bend, Oregon.

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FOX Business' Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report. 

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