GameStop Enjoys Record Holiday Season

Video game retailer GameStop reported record sales of $3.02 billion for the nine-week holiday season that ended on January 1. This marked a 5.4 percent increase over the same period last year, driven by Kinect sales, and "strong sell through" of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The company also reported 32 percent growth in gift card sales during the month of December.

New hardware sales improved 7.4 percent based mostly on the successful debut of Microsoft’s Kinect. New video game software sales increased 3.3 percent.

Sales in an odd category that lumps video game accessories and PC games together, grew 15.9 percent, led by sales of Sony PlayStation Move and Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Used products gained 1.7 percent during the period; but the U.S. segment increased 8.5 percent in December and post-holiday sales significantly outperformed expectations.

Based on solid holiday sales numbers, GameStop stuck with its previous forecast of fourth quarter and full year earnings per share guidance ranges of $1.53 to $1.59 and $2.63 to $2.69, "excluding debt retirement costs. This represents a 16 – 19 percent increase for the full year. The company still expects comparable store sales for the fourth quarter to range from 2 – 4 percent and full year comparable store sales to range from flat to 2 percent.

Full year 2010 sales and earnings results and fiscal 2011 earnings guidance are expected in March 2011.

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