Last year, GameStop (NYSE:GME) gave short-sellers an easy win. But in January, Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets gained notoriety when it squeezed hedge funds for their bearishness on GME stock.
For much of the year, GME shares are fluctuating around the $200 range. The short float of ~12% is still high but is nowhere near levels seen earlier this year.
As such, the gaming retailer is in a good position to pivot the business into growth areas.
GME Stock as an NFT Play
On its career page, GameStop posted eight job positions related to NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. An NFT is “a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger. NFTs can be used to represent easily-reproducible items.” While NFTs and cryptocurrency are rewarding market speculators, blockchain is another strong opportunity.
In its job postings, GameStop describes blockchains as powering the commerce underneath. It wants to hire people with experience in game development, plus in Ethereum, NFTs and blockchain-based gaming platforms.
GameStop has an NFT website with the banner, “Change the Game.” If it succeeds, the firm could build a moat in the gaming space.
It needs to.
After the short attack against the firm could have put it out of business, GameStop may carve a niche in game development instead. The company does not have the expertise to compete with big gaming firms. Still, it could try. Last week, Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) slumped when it announced it would delay two game titles. Although it will have Call of Duty for the holidays, it will delay Diablo and Overwatch.
Activision still beat analyst estimates in its third quarter. But it has higher development and content demands that will delay two of its biggest hits.
Opportunity for GME
GameStop’s NFT positioning complements the business. The retailer has decades of experience in the gaming business. The online gaming market is only expanding. The company cannot lose its chance of entering the space.
Based on metrics like return on invested capital and return on assets, GameStop has a fair quality score. It will rise when the company posts increasing operating profits as revenue rises.
Investors should monitor the stock score changes in the months ahead.
GameStop’s Chairman, Ryan Cohen is a solid leader. Investors have an opportunity to invest in strong management through holding GME shares. Cohen previously founded Chewy (NYSE:CHWY). He is the reason Chewy grew and led in the pet industry. Cohen could repeat his success in gaming. He may shake up stagnant areas of the gaming market and accelerate growth in online gaming. Plus he has experience in e-commerce, technology, and retail. This complements GameStop’s markets and needs.
Risks for GME
As an ongoing “meme stock,” GameStop’s website and job postings only cite buzz words. NFT, cryptocurrency, Ethereum, online gaming, and streaming are hot words that catch the investor’s attention.
GameStop needs to demonstrate a business turnaround with numbers.
Mixed Q2 2021 Results
In the second quarter, GameStop posted revenue of $1.18 billion, up 25.63%. It also lost 76 cents a share. On its conference call, the company did not host a question and answer session. This is unfortunate because investors cannot validate the company’s strategic plan.
GameStop highlighted two developments. First, it positioned the firm to scale. CEO Matt Furlong said the company will achieve competitive pricing and fast pricing, that “Our actions included continuing to add technology talent across the organization, including individuals with experience in e-commerce, UI, UX, operations and supply chain.”
Second, Furlong said it has a new 700,000 square foot facility in Pennsylvania. It started shipping orders during the quarter. By increasing its catalog with new products, GameStop will have more goods that consumers may choose. With more choices across broad categories, including electronics and game titles, revenue will expand.
Strong Balance Sheet
GME’s meme status enabled the firm to sell stock. An at-the-market program allowed it to raise over $1.1 billion. GameStop still has work ahead. It needs to cut costs, increase operating efficiency and accelerate revenue growth. Once quarterly operating losses end, GameStop is in a strong position to pivot to a blockchain-based gaming platform.
On Wall Street, only one analyst offered a rating on GME shares. The price target is a mere $50, issued over two months ago, according to Tipranks.
Redditors probably held on the stock throughout the year. They have no reason to sell. They are betting on Cohen to guide the company and CEO Furlong to lead the transformation.
2022 is the year that GameStop proves its turnaround is working. It has over a billion in cash to accomplish that goal. As long as the company does not squander the funds on expensive acquisitions, it will survive.
Achieving a break-even with no quarterly losses will take priority. Once the core business stabilizes, short-sellers will close their bets. Then more buyers will accumulate shares to join the bullish position.
On the date of publication, Chris Lau did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.