Is it “shutting down” or “moving in?” That depends on how you spin it, but one thing is very clear — GameStop’s ThinkGeek subsidiary is being dismantled.
On its quarterly earnings call last week, recently appointed CEO George Sherman made it clear that redundancies in the collectibles business between ThinkGeek and GameStop would soon be addressed. “What we’ll do with ThinkGeek is produce a redirect. So we’ll be leveraging off the GameStop platform to still have a presence for ThinkGeek, and still have that brand at least initially, while we consolidate the backend operations,” he said. Earlier this evening, ThinkGeek announced that the site is shutting down, while simultaneously answering “nope” to “Is ThinkGeek shutting down?” on its own FAQ. While the brand is still alive for now as it moves to being “a curated selection of unique items historically found on ThinkGeek.com in a ThinkGeek section at GameStop,” the writing is on the wall.
Founded in 1999 by Geeknet, ThinkGeek grew into a successful online destination for pop culture collectibles, eventually being acquired by GameStop in 2015, after the retailer outbid Hot Topic to assume control of the brand. Two months later, ThinkGeek moved into the brick and mortar space with its first retail location.
Over the past four years, ThinkGeek has grown to over 40 physical retail locations in addition to an increased branded presence within more than 3,700 GameStop stores. Sherman’s statement that GameStop will “still have that brand at least initially” would seem to indicate that the future is in question for the ThinkGeek name. The site is being shuttered on July 2, though physical stores are said to be unaffected and will remain open for business. A source confirmed to Yahoo! that ThinkGeek administrative and web staff was laid off by June 7.
If a clue to the shutdown was to be had, it may have been on May 1, when ThinkGeek marked all clearance items down to 75% off, and then added a 25% discount sitewide at checkout.
GameStop is a retailer that we’ve been watching closely at the Toy Book, and the company’s success in the toy and collectibles realm was featured in the Winter 2019 issue of our sister publication, the Pop Insider.