UPDATE 2-GameStop ups profit forecast on console outlook, stock soars
* Raises full-year earnings forecast
* Cuts lower end of full-year same-store sales growth forecast
* Shares up over 12 pct
Aug 22 (Reuters) - GameStop Corp, the world's largest video game products retailer, said it raised its full-year earnings forecast as it expects a ramp up in sales on strong pre-orders for upcoming game consoles from Microsoft Corp and Sony Corp.
GameStop's shares were up over 12 percent at $53.49 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Robust demand ahead of the November release of Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One and the buzz around holiday game launches have bolstered GameStop's confidence about sales and prompted the company to raise its full-year forecast, GameStop's president Tony Bartel said in an interview.
"Q2 was the ninth straight quarter of negative comps in the category and we're putting a flag in the ground and saying that that is the end of the negative comps era for quite some time as we see growth from this point forward," Bartel said.
GameStop expects full-year earnings to be in the range of $3.00 to $3.20 per share, higher than its previous forecast of $2.90 to $3.15 per share.
The company also expects its full-year same-store sales to range between a drop of 3.5 percent and an increase of 1.5 percent. It had previously expected a decline of 5 percent to growth of 1.5 percent.
In the current quarter, the company will see big title launches like Electronic Arts' "Battlefield 4," Take-Two Interactive Software's "Grand Theft Auto V," in addition to recent launches like Disney's kids game "Infinity."
Total U.S. sales of video game hardware and software fell 19 percent in July, in line with a downward trend seen since last year, according to a report by market research firm NPD.
In an environment where consumers are cautious about spending, GameStop raising its forecast ahead of the release of new consoles was a big positive, Benchmark & Co analyst Mike Hickey said.
"Demand for those next gen consoles is high, and supply is better than expected," Hickey added.
Sony said on Tuesday that it was seeing strong demand for its next-generation consoles, with over 1 million PlayStation 4 pre-orders before the console hits the shelves on Nov. 15 in North America.
Microsoft is also expected to launch the third version of its console, the Xbox One, in November.
GameStop's net income fell to $10.5 million, or 9 cents per share, in the second quarter from $21.0 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier, but was higher than the average analyst estimate of 4 cents per share.
The Grapevine, Texas-based company said total revenue slipped about 11 percent to $1.38 billion in the quarter ended July 31.
Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.36 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of the company were up at $54.45 on the New York Stock Exchange.