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GameStop suspends trade-ins amid coronavirus pandemic

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Retailer won’t buy old games and hardware for a few weeks

front of GameStop shop featuring numerous promotions
GameStop is suspending trade-ins
Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

GameStop has suspended its lucrative trade-in business. The company said in a statement it’s “suspending temporarily our video game and consumer electronics trade-in practices until Sunday, March 29.”

The temporary suspension is part of a number of corporate changes brought in to address the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement emailed to Polygon. GameStop is under fire from employees and the media for its failure to adapt to the crisis, including a bizarre insistence that it qualifies as a retailer of “essential” products.

GameStop has long depended on revenues from used games, and has recently implemented an aggressive strategy of buying old cellphones for refurbishment and resale.

Here’s the full statement:

GameStop is working diligently during this unprecedented time to provide our customers and associates with the safest environment possible. Like many businesses, we are implementing changes to our retail operations so that we can be there for our customers as they are looking for sources of normalcy in their life during this stressful time.

Specific actions we have taken include:

Instituting multiple social distancing practices in our stores, such as only allowing 10 customers in our stores at any given time

Following CDC recommended guidelines to adopt in-store line management practices that creates a 6-foot parameter between customers in checkout lines

Reducing our store hours of operation to 12 – 8 p.m. beginning Saturday, March 21 through Sunday, March 29

Rolling out delivery @door service at all U.S. store locations to allow customers to skip the line and pick up their purchases at the front door of our stores

Suspending temporarily our video game and consumer electronics trade-in practices until Sunday, March 29

Postponing all gaming events and midnight launch activities until further notice

Disabling temporarily all interactive gaming stations in our stores

Encouraging customers to leverage our online ecommerce capabilities and direct deliveries to their homes from our warehouses or stores.

Additionally, we have implemented heightened cleaning practices on all high-touchpoint surfaces within our stores. And like other retailers, we are taking aggressive actions, in an admittedly difficult environment, to quickly obtain additional cleaning supplies so that our stores can maintain the safest environment for our associates and customers.

We are all in this together. Like many businesses, we are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic closely and adjusting our business practices to align with CDC recommended guidelines, while satisfying our gamers demand for the product they want in a manner that protects both our customers and our associates.