Typically, I like to focus on games and game industry news only on this website. But with the announcement from Gamestop that it will be open on Thanksgiving—well—I’m making a little exception. So, let’s talk about Thanksgiving!
Gamestop as a company is currently taking its last breaths as a company. It has continually seen profits drop year after year. Even after adding new revenue streams such as retro games and thinkgeek to its arsenal, it still hasn’t been enough to save the company from the icy grip of death. There are simply too many avenues that exist that enable consumers to not only purchase games cheaper but receive them sooner. Couple this with the ever constant image problems Gamestop seems to constantly face, and why wouldn’t consumers pick another company?
And they did.
Now we find Gamestop in an ever growing state of desperation. Much in the same sense as cornered animal—fighting with its life to escape—we have Gamestop doing the same thing; open on Thanksgiving. An action that as Americans, I feel we should always be against.
To those who live outside the states, let me provide a little context in regards to the holiday known as Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the biggest non-religious holiday that exists in America, its a holiday built around the premise of spending time with family and loved ones. Being the melting pot that America is, it makes Thanksgiving all the more important. It’s the only and biggest time a year, that regardless of culture or religion, that we as a nation take a moment and spend time with our loved ones.
To have Gamestop open on such a day is an affront to the holiday’s meaning and one I find personally unacceptable regardless of their financial situation. As part of the announcement that Gamestop would be open on Thanksgiving, the company stated
“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”
Forgive me, if I am simply not buying this poor excuse. While there are people who do shop on Thanksgiving, it is by far the worst performing day of the entire weekend. The National Retail Federation predicted that for 2016, only 21.1% of those who plan on shopping on Thanksgiving weekend will do so on Thursday.
It’s important to note, this chart is missing some very important information to have a complete picture. The first is there is no information available on the amount of spending on just Thursday as Thanksgiving weekend is used as the metric to determine sales. Second, we don’t know what is driving the interest for those who do end up shopping on those days. Finally, we also don’t know what portion of those sales are online or in-stores. While we don’t know for certain, educated guesses using other information can give you at least a sense of what is happening.
We know that year after year, in-store sales continue to fall. From 2015-2016 about 5 million more people shopped online, while about 2 million fewer people shopped in stores. We also know that shoppers are driven by sales this time of year. In 2016 about 36% of people who shopped during the Holiday weekend had every single item they purchased on sale. Additionally, over 80% of people who purchased items during the Thanksgiving weekend, had at least 50% of their purchases discounted.
This is why I find Gamestop’s argument so weak and truly just a withered old hand grabbing for one last dollar. All signs point to fewer and fewer purchases in a brick and mortar setting, driven almost entirely sales, on the slowest day of the entire holiday. Remove the sales and you remove the reason to shop.
Rather than ruin employees’ Thanksgiving, Gamestop should make the effort to actually reinvent itself if it plans to survive, or simply accept its fate without destroying the one Holiday that we have in America that we all can celebrate equally.