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Ryan Cohen, the GameStop Corp. activist investor who became its chairman on Wednesday, said he isn’t going to unveil a new strategy yet. But he gave some hints during a talk at the retailer’s annual meeting.
“We are trying to do something that nobody in the retail space has ever done,” Cohen said at the gathering, held in GameStop’s hometown of Grapevine, Texas. “But we believe we’re putting the right pieces in place and we have clear goals: delighting customers and driving shareholder value for the long term.”
Cohen is trying to turn the brick-and-mortar retailer into an e-commerce competitor to Amazon.com Inc., in part by increasing the number of products and services it offers. He’s already shaken up the company’s management team, and is working to improve customer service and delivery. GameStop, slated to release its quarterly results later on Wednesday, is currently seeking a new chief executive officer.
The company is still struggling, but it has won the faith of the Reddit crowd, which has helped propel the stock more than 1,500 per cent in 2021. GameStop has been one of this year’s top meme stocks, which trade off of social-media buzz rather than business fundamentals. The shares gained as much as 6.7 per cent to US$320 on Wednesday.
While some investors had hoped Cohen would lay out a detailed plan for turning GameStop around, “that’s not going to happen,” he said. “You won’t find us talking a big game, making a bunch of lofty promises or telegraphing our strategy to the competition.
His previous company, pet supplier Chewy, had the same philosophy, he said.
Cohen announced a stake in GameStop last year and began pushing for changes at the video-game retailer. He now owns 13 per cent of the company and has three seats on its board. On Wednesday, Cohen also made a shoutout to the Reddit fans behind GameStop’s rally.
“We’re fortunate to have such a special group of investors holding the company’s shares,” he said. “You guys inspire us to think bigger, fight harder and work longer each day.”
But Cohen cautioned that the turnaround would take time.
“We have a lot of work in front of us,” he said. “Moving forward, we want you to judge GameStop based on our actions -- not our words.”