An open letter to GameStop CEO Ryan Cohen

Dear Ryan,

In this former analyst’s humble opinion, at GameStop you fail miserably and it’s costing the average investor a lot of money.

Do it better. Much better. This is painful to watch.

You have a hand-picked board of directors – mostly made up of people you worked with at Chewy. With Chewy, you have created an online retailer that millions of people love. However, the magic you found there didn’t fix GameStop. Some would say business has gotten worse!

Revenue in the first quarter of 2023: down 10.3% year-on-year. Net loss for the first quarter of 2023: $50.5 million compared to a net loss of $157.9 million a year ago.

In 2022 and 2021 combined, GameStop reportedly lost $694.4 million.

You failed to select a management team and develop it based on sales in your kingdom.

How could a former Amazon exec not find some form of success at GameStop in Matt Furlong, for all his flaws? A good quarter maybe? The CFO you elected was dismissed in July 2022 after about a year in office.

While I’m at it, why isn’t it on the GameStop investors page? Showing these biographies is common practice for listed companies.

It all depends on you as the leader, Ryan.

The company remains structurally challenged by increasing downloads of digital games. More than 4,000 retail stores are still open worldwide, even as more people are buying goods and services online. Your foray into NFTs has failed. Your plan to open more logistics centers probably failed due to the ongoing pressure on management.

Sales of collectibles — a focus area for management — declined 22% in the first quarter.

There’s still no reason for the non-gamer to enter a GameStop store. I think that’s a problem.

Of course, I didn’t build a big business like you did at Chewy. I have also never sold a large company to another company like you did in 2017 when you sold Chewy to Petsmart. I also haven’t taken a company public like Chewy did in 2019.

I commend you for putting in the long nights to make these things happen. I’m a fan of heart stories.

I don’t have the huge wealth that Chewy has earned you either! – is available to me, and that means I’m unable to topple the board of directors of a public company and treat a company like a personal playground. That’s exactly what I think happened at GameStop.

This bank account means you have more leverage than me in the public markets and could lose weight. And have. Your moves so far at Bed Bath & Beyond and Nordstrom — and bizarre tweets — show you’re willing to walk the talk to get a point across.

It’s your money and you can use it as you see fit. After all, we live in a capitalist system.

But you fail at GameStop.

And perhaps your biggest mistake is a lack of communication with the average investing community.

A series of 8-minute earnings talks over the past two years led by Furlong, with no questions and answers? Are you kidding?

Not a single investor-focused event detailing your grand plan?

I sometimes get cryptic for competitive reasons, but you’re an officer of a public company. Investors deserve to know a company’s vision, controlled by you personally and your hand-picked board of directors.

The average investor has placed great trust in you, Ryan. They’ve spent hours reviewing GameStop’s financials, backing you up on social media and the Yahoo Finance comments sections, among other things.

It’s time you gave them the respect they deserve. The Ryan Cohen we spoke to at Yahoo Finance in 2019 seemed like someone with at least the thought of taking care of the average person.

Be that Ryan Cohen again. Investors deserve it… and they deserve it by supporting you blindly for more than two years.

Note: A spokesperson for Ryan Cohen did not respond to Yahoo Finance’s request to provide Ryan Cohen for an interview for this article.

Brian Sozzi is Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and further LinkedIn. Tips on the banking crisis? Email [email protected]

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