Gamestop today announced plans to launch 80 new holiday concept stores called GameStop Kids across the U.S., offering child-targeted shopping experiences with brands like Angry Birds, Hello Kitty, Skylanders, Lego, Minecraft and more. The storefronts will offer video games, accessories, licensed good like plush toys, and collectibles. Judging by the product list of what’s going to be carried at GameStop Kids, however, this looks like a store designed not only for actual children, but for anyone with a love of video-game and sci-fi-related tchotchkes.
Chewbacca 9-inch Plush? Mass Effect 3 Series 2 Action Figures? Minecraft Creeper Head? Stay Puft Backpack Clip? These are all items that, while possibly something kids would very much enjoy, clearly appeal to an older demographic of adult skewing towards the nerdy end of the spectrum, meaning your average ThinkGeek buyer, for example, or me.
These stores are basically all of that impulse buy stuff that GameStop’s normally carry in limited quantities at or near the register, except with an entire retail floor dedicated to it. There are also a lot of iPhone/iPad cases included in the product lineup, which you can check out in full on GameStop’s website.
Holiday pop-up shops are all the rage this year, with Microsoft opening a bunch to help propel the launch of its Surface tablet, and Amazon getting in on the action to help drive Kindle gift buys. GameStop stands to supplement its video game business with these Kids locations, providing shoppers with an easy, hassle-free way to pick up stocking stuffers while they’re already out doing their holiday shopping at malls around the country.
Plus, these stores essentially house the “Other” category of GameStop’s product mix, vs. video games, used video games and new videogame hardware, and recent quarterly results show that’s becoming an increasingly important part of the company’s bottom line. In Q2 2012, “Other” goods accounted for 21.3 percent of GameStop’s total sales mix, for $330 million in revenue. That’s way up from the same period during the year-ago quarter, where “Other” made up only 13.5 percent for a total of $235.2 million in revenue. Putting an emphasis on that growing portion of its business during the crazy holiday season just makes sense from a balance sheet perspective.