Smith Barney upgrades GameStop

Christmas comes early for GameStop after Wall Street firm upgrades company's investment rating from "hold" to "buy."

GameStop and investors received good news yesterday in the form of an analyst upgrade. Smith Barney Citigroup analyst Jill Krutick in a report outlining the upgrade said that, "video games have the best momentum and are gaining share of consumer spending, which may continue into the first half of 2005."

Games, including Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, are sparking solid revenues for all retailers, including GameStop. GameStop sales increased 28 percent to $416.7 million in its most recently reported quarter.

The company, with 1,746 retail outlets, is ready to reap the benefits of these and other top-sellers. "[GameStop] shares are up over 25 percent so far this year," Krutick said. "We believe as the industry continues to gain share of consumer wallets ... GameStop will be a disproportionate beneficiary."

On the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, GameStop shares closed up 81 cents to $20.60. At press time on Wednesday, shares of the company were trading slightly higher, up 65 cents.

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