GameStop Drops as Quarterly Results, Forecast Fall Short

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GameStop Corp., the largest video-game specialty retailer, tumbled as much as 15 percent after third-quarter results fell short of analysts’ estimates and the company predicted disappointing holiday profit.

GameStop, based in Grapevine, Texas, slumped 14 percent to $37.22 at 10:33 a.m. New York time after earlier dropping to $37.11.

Sales were held back by Ubisoft Entertainment’s decision to delay the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, GameStop said yesterday in a statement. The company also experienced a faster-than expected decline in sales of older-generation hardware and software following the introduction of new game machines from Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. a year ago.

“The shift of Assassins Creed impacted our quarter by 5 cents per share,” Chief Executive Officer Paul Raines said on a conference call with analysts.

Revenue for the quarter fell almost 1 percent to $2.09 billion. The game was released in the U.S. on Nov. 11, two weeks later than previously planned.

Earnings for the period ended Nov. 1, excluding items, fell to 57 cents a share from 58 cents a year earlier, GameStop said. Analysts were forecasting 61 cents, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Analysts were projecting $2.2 billion in revenue.

Older Consoles

Shrinking sales of hardware and software for older Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 models were a factor, with sales of those products declining almost 58 percent, executives said on the call.

GameStop officials also said they’re monitoring developments in labor talks between West Coast ports and longshoremen. A work slowdown stretching from San Diego to the Canadian border may affect hardware sales, they said.

For the current fourth quarter, GameStop forecasts profit will rise as much as 19 percent to $2.08 to $2.24 a share, compared with analysts’ estimates of $2.30. The company said comparable-store sales will range from a decline of 5 percent to a gain of 2 percent.

Raines said he has returned to work full time after undergoing surgery to identify and remove a small cancerous tumor from his brain in August.

“My treatments have gone very well and I am blessed to say that I had excellent results on my follow-up visit to Duke and Baylor last week,” he said on a conference call.