Major merchandise chain GameStop has announced that it will be discontinuing its trade-in program for Funko Pops at the beginning of next year. The retailer is known for selling a variety of geek and gamer merchandise, primarily dealing with Funko Pop vinyl figures as the majority of its business.
The company has encountered financial difficulty over the past few years due to changing business models and competition from online retailers. GameStop stock took a beating back in May when it vastly overestimated the demand for Games of Thrones Funko Pops in anticipation of the series finale.
Customers have also often criticized GameStop for throwing out the boxes for traded-in Funko Pops in order to save self space as well as for poor resurfacing jobs on pre-owned units. Some customers have also pointed out that many of the Pop figures on display have been previously opened before being put back on the shelf to be sold as new.
The decision to stop the resale of Pop figures seems to have primarily come from manufacturer Funko who recently has begun putting pressure on retailers to halt the resale of the figures in an attempt to prevent their perceived value from continuing to plummet. GameStop will still be able to line its selves with ungodly amounts of new Funko Pops, but will gradually phase out the pre-owned units from its stores.
To make up for the lost merchandise revenue, GameStop announced that it would be looking into entering the video game retail space. The company stated that figures, apparel with painful pop culture iconography, and ex-ThinkGeek overstock items would still make up the majority of its stores’ displays, customers would just be able to look forward to having a small section of video games available to browse through as well.
The company’s entrance into the video game segment will not be without its challenges. GameStop says it plans to differentiate itself from other retailers by constantly pressuring customers to pre-order and carrying insufficient stock of anticipated games, forcing people to go across the street to Walmart instead.