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Tae Kim

What If GameStop Actually Thrives After the Gamestonk Saga?

Internet entrepreneur Ryan Cohen beat Amazon at its own game as co-founder of Chewy. Can he do it again at GameStop?

The Gamestonk saga was fun but the GameStop story may be even more interesting.

The Gamestonk saga was fun but the GameStop story may be even more interesting.

Photographer: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg

Don’t count out GameStop. Really. While the prevailing consensus says that the frenzy surrounding the video-game seller’s stock is purely speculative and that the eventual demise of the brick-and-mortar retailer is a foregone conclusion, some positive developments are brightening the outlook for its business transformation. And with a little magic from Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos’s playbook, a real turnaround is a distinct possibility, one that has the potential to make GameStop Corp. an e-commerce powerhouse for gaming, PC hardware and consumer electronics. 

The key figure in GameStop’s comeback story is Ryan Cohen, formerly the co-founder and CEO of online pet-supply retailer Chewy Inc. Since buying a large stake in GameStop last summer, the internet entrepreneur has become increasingly involved in shaping the company’s future. In November, Cohen went activist on his investment by sending an eviscerating letter to GameStop’s board in which he criticized management’s performance and the lack of progress in embracing digital initiatives. His public pressure is paying dividends: In early January, GameStop said it had entered an agreement with Cohen’s investment arm, RC Ventures, under which it added three new directors — including Cohen — to its board. And just last week, the company announced a trio of impressive hires: Matt Francis, previously an engineering leader at Amazon Web Services, as its chief technology officer; Kelli Durkin, a former Chewy executive, as senior vice president of customer care; and Josh Krueger, who had prior senior roles at Amazon and Walmart Inc., as vice president of fulfillment.