GameStop, Which Told Locations To Stay Open Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Will Permanently Close 300 Stores

People walk outside of a GameStop location.
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GameStop has announced that it will be permanently closing 300 locations in the near future, just days after the company told its stores to remain open and classify themselves as “essential” businesses amid coronavirus closings.

As ComicBook reported, the national gaming retail chain announced the closings as part of an effort to “de-densify,” though details about which stores could be targeted or when the closings would take place were not yet known. The company revealed plans during an earnings call this week, where it also noted that sales in March had been on an uptick before the coronavirus forced locations to close down. The report attributed this to two releases this month — DOOM Eternal and Animal Crossing: NewHorizons.

The announcement came just days after GameStop sparked controversy for its efforts to remain open as other non-essential stores closed down in an effort to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus. As The Inquisitr reported, employees were instructed to ignore law enforcement and remain open, telling workers to advise local authorities that the chain was “classified as essential retail and therefore is able to remain open during this time.”

As Vice reported, the memo sent to employees instructed law enforcement to call the chain’s corporate office, but many local authorities did not comply and forced locations to shut down. This led to many employees speaking out, saying the company was putting their health and the health of customers at risk even though there were other options available for gamers.

“That’s absolutely ridiculous. If someone’s trying to work from home, they don’t want the $85 Razer keyboard we have or the $60 Razer mouse. Some cheap $20 Microsoft something is going to get them by just fine,” Dustin Carson, a game adviser at a GameStop in Georgia, told CNN Business.

“They can get that at Walmart. They can get that at any of these other stores that also have groceries and are arguably much more essential to being open right now.”

After facing a significant backlash from employees and local leaders, the company announced last week that it would be closing its locations during the coronavirus pandemic. But the closing did not come before the release of Animal Crossing, expected to be one of the biggest-selling games of the year.

As ComicBook noted, GameStop had already closed more than 300 locations last year as part of a larger restructuring in response to overall lagging sales.