The other day GameStop tried to defy orders that only essential stores should remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic but trying to class itself as an essential retail operation. The company tried to make its frontline staff and management turn away law enforcement which were closing down non-essential retail too. At the time the company released an internal memo which was leaked that said:
“Due to the products we carry that enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home, we believe GameStop is classified as essential retail and therefore is able to remain open during this time. We have received reports of local authorities visiting stores in an attempt to enforce closure despite our classification. Store Managers are approved to provide the document linked below to law enforcement as needed.”
Of course, there was almost immediate backlash against the already struggling games retailer with many stating the company was putting its profits ahead of staff and social safety. Well, this seems to have backfired as a report by DualShockers suggests that the State of Pennsylvania forcibly removed GameStop’s operating license meaning it cannot trade in the State. Following all of this backlash, and frankly idiotic business move, GameStop has released a new statement stating that from today customer access to stores will be stopped with curbside pick up and online ordering available as alternatives. The full statement is below.
GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), today provided an update related to its United States store operations and customer service related to COVID-19.
Effective Sunday March 22, 2020, for all locations not already closed in accordance with state and local orders, GameStop will temporarily stop customer access to storefronts, processing orders on a digital only basis, moving to curbside pick-up at stores and eCommerce delivery only. This will allow the Company to continue to serve customers who have purchased online at GameStop.com and the GameStop app and have requested a product pick-up at their local store.
George Sherman, GameStop’s Chief Executive Officer said, “This is an unprecedented time and each day brings new information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Our priority has been and continues to be on the well-being of our employees, customers and business partners. We have been steadfast in our adherence to CDC-guided safety and local government orders for retailers in each of our communities. As millions of Americans look to GameStop to adjust to their new normal of increased time at home, for work, learning and play, we have implemented practices to help ensure the safety and health of our employees, customers and partners. We believe it is prudent to institute further safety protocols while meeting this increased demand through curbside pick-up. As such, stores that remain in operation will provide only pick-up at the door or delivery to home activities to further protect our employees and customers.”
The Company will continue to offer its products online at GameStop.com and on the GameStop app for customers to have their products shipped directly to their homes.
All U.S.GameStop employees have been ensured that they do not have to work if they are not comfortable and should stay home if they feel sick. Additionally, the Company has announced it will pay all U.S. employees whose hours have been eliminated an additional two weeks at their regular pay rate based on the average hours worked in the last 10 weeks. In addition, the Company will reimburse all benefit eligible U.S. employees, one month of the employee portion of benefit expenses.
The Company noted that it will provide more detail about its operations when it reports fourth quarter and fiscal year 2019 results on March 26, 2020.
If the leaked memo is real then George Sherman’s words in the new statement could ring incredibly hollow with a public already concerned with how the company has handled its response to the pandemic.