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GameStop shares subdued on lack of rejig details

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·3-min read
FILE PHOTO: A GameStop store is seen in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of New York City
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By Medha Singh and Sagarika Jaisinghani

(Reuters) - Shares in GameStop Corp carved out a tiny gain on Thursday after dropping as much as 10.5% earlier in the session even as the video game retailer's silence on its turnaround plan led its army of individual investors to question the meteoric rise in its share price this year.

The company posted a 25% jump in quarterly sales, but its executives gave no new details for a plan to refashion itself from a mostly brick-and-mortar retailer. The company recently raised more than $1 billion in fresh equity.

GameStop shares closed up 0.2% at $199.18 after touching a low of $178 during the session. Thursday's close was more than 10 times its close of $18.84 at the end of 2020. But it compared poorly with a $483 peak reached in January, when the stock was seeing wild swings at the height of a battle between small-time traders and Wall Street hedge funds.

Thursday marked the stock's first time finishing in positive territory in the session after an earnings update after declining the last four times. And GameStop had fallen close to 30% after its previous two updates.

"This is the third time that investors have expected GameStop management to articulate its strategy and the third time the company failed to do so," wrote Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, who rates it "underperform" with a $50 price target.

"We think that GameStop will continue to promise and to fail to deliver a strategy to its investors, and will seek ways to increase online sales while it holds investors at bay."

(GRAPHIC: GameStop earnings reaction - https://graphics.reuters.com/GAMESTOP-RESULTS/byvrjjgjxve/chart.png)

Going into the first post-earnings conference call by new Chief Executive Matt Furlong, investors had been looking for details on efforts by Chairman Ryan Cohen to focus on e-commerce.

But the call lasted less than 10 minutes and "the CEO did not mention consoles or video games and, given that the company completely relies on them, it was quite remarkable," said Neil Campling, global technology, media and telecommunications analyst at Mirabaud Securities.

GameStop faces competition from Microsoft Corp's Xbox, which is building its own streaming devices for cloud gaming to reach gamers on any television or monitor without the need for a console.

Net sales in the second quarter jumped to $1.18 billion, but GameStop also posted a bigger-than-expected adjusted loss of 76 cents per share.

Social media forums were abuzz with individual investors complaining about the lack of disclosure about GameStop's strategy.

"I understand Cohen's belief in keeping your strategy close to your chest so the competition won't know what you're doing, but I'd like to learn something," one user wrote on Reddit's WallStreetBets. "Regardless, I'm not selling."

(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani, Medha Singh, Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru, Sinéad Carew in New York ; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Arun Koyyur and Jonathan Oatis)

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