What happened

Shareholders of GameStop (NYSE:GME) trailed a booming market last year as the stock plunged 52% compared with a 29% spike in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Shares rose in the year's final weeks, but that minor rebound wasn't enough to erase significant losses through most of 2019.

Two kids playing video games.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

GameStop's 2019 went from bad to worse. First, shareholders witnessed uncertainty around its rebound plan as the video game retailer operated under temporary management while trying to sell the business. The company went on to slash its generous dividend after that go-private attempt failed.

Meanwhile, news continued to get worse on the operating front as video game software and hardware sales collapsed under the weight of a console transition and the continued move toward digital purchasing. Comparable-store sales plunged 23% in the most recent quarter to mark a worsening compared with the prior quarter's 12% decline.

Now what

The slumping share price and rock-bottom investor attitudes toward GameStop might qualify it as a value stock primed for a rebound rally. But it's hard to see how the chain can return to growth following a failed push into consumer tech. Instead, for at least the next year, the business is likely to shrink as gamers hold back spending in anticipation of next-generation console releases in mid to late 2020.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.