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GameStop stock plunges nearly 30% as sales fall short of estimates and its dividend is eliminated

Key Points
  • GameStop shares plunged nearly 30% in premarket trading Wednesday after the retailer reported a 13.3% fall in first-quarter revenue and a 10.3% sales decline.
  • The company said it would eliminate its quarterly dividend, effective immediately, to save about $157 million a year.
  • Gamestop is struggling with lower video game and console sales at stores as well as a decline in profits due to shifting preferences towards downloadable video games and streaming.
Customers browse collectible video game merchandise for sale at a GameStop Corp. store in West Hollywood, California.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

GameStop shares plunged nearly 30% in premarket trading Wednesday after the retailer announced it would eliminate its dividend as video game sales continue to decline and put pressure on its business.

In the latest quarter, GameStop unexpectedly reported a net profit, but its revenue fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

With sales expected to continue to decline, the company said it would eliminate its quarterly dividend, effective immediately, to save about $157 million a year.

The company's net income fell to $6.8 million, or 7 cents per share, in the first quarter from $28.2 million, or 28 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Net sales also fell to $1.55 billion from $1.79 billion in the year-ago period.

Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had expected the company to post a loss of 3 cents per share on revenue of $1.64 billion.

GameStop said it expects full-year 2019 sales to fall between 5% and 10%. The retailer is struggling with lower video game and console sales at stores, as well as a decline in profits due to shifting preferences towards downloadable video games and streaming.

Chief Financial Officer Rob Lloyd said the consumers were postponing their purchase of consoles, as the current models PS4 and Xbox One console are in late stages, and they are awaiting new versions from Sony and Microsoft.

"The last time we experienced the console transition period (was) when Sony and Microsoft announced new generation consoles," Lloyd said.

The gaming retailer has been struggling with shrinking profits as consumers shift to downloadable video games instead of buying physical versions from stores.

GameStop also faces a major threat from the rising advent of game streaming, with technology giants like Alphabet's Google, Microsoft, and others getting into the still nascent space.

"While GME said the dividend elimination would provide flexibility to drive value creation for shareholders and transform GME for the future, Apr-Q results and intensifying competition from Apple Arcade and Alphabet's Stadia suggest it may be game over," CFRA Research analyst Camilla Yanushevsky said.

Shares of the company were down 38% year to date as of Tuesday's close, after the stock plummeted in late January when the company ended efforts to sell itself.

Reuters contributed to this article.