Back in 2014, GameStop announced that it would not be opening its stores on Thanksgiving “out of respect for our store associates and their families and friends.” It appears that policy only lasted three years, as GameStop flipped a 180 and revealed they would be open for Thanksgiving 2017. In a statement given to Kotaku, GameStop said:
“To better serve our guests with their evolving holiday shopping needs, this year GameStop will open its stores for a shortened and limited time on Thanksgiving Day. Many of our store associates and guests have asked for this. We have heard their requests and are making an adjustment to our previous position on this topic.”
According to that statement, the decision was made due to employees and customers asking for the stores to be open on Thanksgiving Day, though one doesn’t have to look too far to see that growing digital popularity is causing issues for the physical media retailer, with more than 150 stores closing this year.
In my own conversations with GameStop employees in my area, I’ve found that they are being encouraged (to say the least) to sell geek culture products — in addition to pre-orders, product protections, and add-ons — and one indicated that their stores are moving to a 50-50 setup, so half of what they sell well be merchandise, apparel, and accessories like Funko Pops and t-shirts, with the other half remaining retail copies of video games. They also continue to be the distributor of Game Informer magazine through the Power Up Rewards program.
It hasn’t been a great year for GameStop, with the possible hack in April and the controversy surrounding the Circle of Life program early in the year. It remains to be seen if this change to GameStop’s Thanksgiving policy will have any significant effect on their business, but I’d wager that their strategy needs to change a little bit more than just opening up sales for a limited time on a family oriented holiday that most companies have been trying to find ways to close on in recent years.