Cohen, who is the company’s largest shareholder, acknowledged turning around the troubled video game retailer won’t be easy.
“We have a lot of work in front of us and it will take time,” Cohen told shareholders, according to remarks posted on Reddit. “We are trying to do something that nobody in the retail space has ever done, but we believe we are putting the right pieces in place and we have clear goals: delighting customers, and driving shareholder value for the long term.”
The stock ticked higher on the developments announced at the annual shareholder meeting Wednesday and ahead of earnings due after the closing bell.
Cohen, however, remained tight-lipped on specifics for GameStop’s future plans.
“You won’t find us talking a big game, making a bunch of lofty promises or telegraphing our strategy to the competition,” Cohen added. “That’s the philosophy we adopted at Chewy.”
Cohen joined GameStop’s board in January as the video game retailer’s shares began to soar to unprecedented levels amid a short squeeze fueled by investors on Reddit’s speculative investing forum, WallStreetBets. Shares are up over 1,492% this year alone.
“We’re fortunate to have such a special group of investors holding the company’s shares,” Cohen said, according to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal. “You guys inspire us to think bigger, fight harder and work longer each day.”
Cohen’s firm, RC Ventures, has amassed an approximately 13% stake in GameStop, with the goal of transforming the company into a major e-commerce player that sells a wide variety of merchandise with fast shipping.
As part of that transformation, Cohen has cleaned house, with GameStop’s CEO George Sherman, chief financial officer Jim Bell and chief customer officer Frank Hamlin all announcing they would step aside from their positions. Board members including Nintendo executive Reginald Fils-Aimé, former Activision Publishing president Kathy Vrabeck and Hestia Capital founder and chief investment officer Kurtis J. Wolf also announced departure plans.
Cohen has been beefing up the incoming GameStop leadership team with executives whose primary focus has been in the e-commerce space, including Amazon veterans Elliott Wilke, Jenna Owens and Matt Francis, who will serve as GameStop’s chief growth officer, operating officer and first chief technology officer, respectively.
In addition, GameStop recently announced plans to open a distribution center in York, Pennsylvania to further expand its North American fulfillment network in support of its e-commerce push. The facility is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2021.
“Moving forward, we want you to judge GameStop based on our actions, not our words,” Cohen concluded. “Thank you everyone, and as my dad would say, “Buckle up”.”
First-quarter earnings for 2021 will offer insight on how the company’s e-commerce transformation is shaping up.
GameStop recently reported preliminary year-over-year global sales growth of approximately 11% for the first nine weeks of 2021. Sales increased approximately 5.3% year-over-year for the four week period ending February 27 and roughly 18% year-over-year for the five week period ending April 2.
GameStop executives will discuss the earnings results on a call with analysts at 5 p.m.