Report: GameStop says it is "essential retail" in face of coronavirus shutdown

Report: GameStop says it is "essential retail" in face of coronavirus shutdown

American retailer GameStop has apparently told its staff that is "essential retail" amid the US government issuing orders for stores to close.

That's according to Kotaku, which has seen an internal memo to staff, in which the company said that it should be exempt from the closures which are on the way. Store managers are apparently to tell law enforcement to call GameStop's corporate headquarters if they aren't satisfied that the shop is "essential".

The retailer is reducing store hours, halting trade-ins until the end of the month and postponing events. 

“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,” the memo said.

“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.”

GameStop isn't exactly in the best financial shape and the potential for lost revenue is probably a huge risk for the corporate giant. Nintendo vet Reggie Fils-Aimé recently joined the company's board, too. 

The coronavirus pandemic has already impacted numerous events in the games space, including E3 and GDC. UK retailer GAME is staying open in the viral outbreak, with staff being given hand sanitiser and told to clean surfaces on a regular basis. 

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.