GameStop shares slide amid investor worries over game sales early in holiday sales season

Monday, November 30, 2009

GameStop shares slip amid game sale jitters

NEW YORK — Shares of GameStop Corp. retreated Monday amid worries that video games aren’t selling as well early this holiday season as many had hoped.

Though there wasn’t any new data available from GameStop or the NPD Group, which tracks U.S. video game sales, investors are jittery because video game companies make big chunk of their profits during the holidays.

GameStop is expected to report $3.6 billion in fourth-quarter sales, according to a poll of analysts by Thomson Reuters. That’s more than a third of the $9.15 billion in sales that analysts are expecting in sales for the full year.

On Monday, GameStop declined to release any specific sales figures for the Black Friday weekend.

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia, however, said it looks like traffic at the company’s stores was solid. “It appears traffic earlier in the week was a bit soft but picked up quite well over the weekend,” the analyst wrote in a note to investors. “This makes sense as customers likely waited for door busters and value deals.”

Bhatia rates GameStop “Buy.”

Also on Monday, Ubisoft Entertainment SA, the French video game publisher behind games such as “Assassin’s Creed II,” reaffirmed its earlier guidance for the current fiscal year.

Shares of Grapevine, Texas-based GameStop fell 89 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $24.43 in afternoon trading. In the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $18.01 and $32.82.

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