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Lack of new hardware, Wii hinder GameStop's holiday sales

Lack of new hardware, Wii hinder GameStop's holiday sales

January 9, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Major game retailer GameStop saw minimal sales gains in the nine weeks leading up to December 31, bringing in $3.02 billion during the holiday sales period.

The company blamed low Wii software sales and a 19.6 percent decline in hardware sales for the mostly flat results. It said the lack of new home consoles or low enough price points failed to stimulate the same consumer demand the retailer enjoyed in 2010.

While it reported a "slight increase" in sales (2010's holiday results also came out to $3.02 billion), GameStop's total in-store sales dropped by 0.3 percent -- U.S. store sales increased by 0.3 percent, but international sales fell by 1.5 percent.

PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 releases boosted GameStop's software sales by 9.9 percent, thanks to major titles like Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed: Revelations, and Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

The latter helped increase digital sales for the company by 60 percent through its complementary Call of Duty ELITE service subscriptions. As for used games, the pre-owned category's sales increased 3.5 percent compared to the same period last year, and 7 percent year-to-date.

GameStop's newly introduced iPhone and iPad trade-in program, which it previously said is experiencing "strong consumer enthusiasm." made up 4 percent of the company's trade volume during the nine-week holiday period.

As a result of the holiday results -- which make up a considerable portion of GameStop's annual figures -- the company has lowered expected losses for its comparable store sales during both the fourth quarter and the full year from 2 percent to 1 percent.

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