After days of saying its stores would remain open during the coronavirus pandemic, GameStop reversed course, announcing on March 22 that effective immediately it would temporarily stop customer access to storefronts, processing orders on a digital only basis, moving to curbside pick-up at stores and eCommerce delivery only.
The nation’s largest video game retailer said the new strategy would will allow it to continue to serve customers who have purchased online at GameStop.com and the GameStop app and have requested a product pick-up at their local store.
“As millions of Americans look to GameStop to adjust to their new normal of increased time at home, for work, learning and play, we have implemented practices to help ensure the safety and health of our employees, customers and partners,” CEO George Sherman said in a statement.
Indeed, GameStop had previously suggested that due to home confinement for many consumers, GameStop should remain open as an essential business offering at-home entertainment and consumer electronics. It then announced it would shutter all California stores after the state’s governor ordered residents to remain home and not congregate in large gatherings.
Sherman said it had become “prudent” to institute further safety protocols while meeting increased home entertainment demands through curbside pick-up.
GameStop said employees have been ensured that they do not have to work if they are not comfortable and should stay home if they feel sick. Additionally, the retailer said it would pay all U.S. employees whose hours have been eliminated an additional two weeks at their regular pay rate based on the average hours worked in the last 10 weeks. GameStop will reimburse all benefit eligible U.S. employees, one month of the employee portion of benefit expenses.
The store closures come as fiscally-challenged GameStop faces industry changes, including a lack of new-generation consoles and consumers increasingly opting for digital games and streaming.
The chain said it would provide more detail about its operations when it reports fourth quarter and fiscal year 2019 results on March 26.