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GRAPEVINE, TX-With hardware and software sales strong, and an expanding market, GameStop Corp. will continue major expansion worldwide, executives said at the company’s fourth-quarter conference call.

The company will open between 575 and 600 new stores worldwide, divided evenly between the United States and international markets. About 175 stores will be opened in Europe.

“Our real estate people, working with brokers, have identified that there are an additional 1,685 locations for the GameStop model [in the United States],” said R. Richard Fontaine, chairman and CEO. “So a 200- to 300-store [annual] growth rate is well within possibility.”

In 2007, the company opened 586 stores worldwide. The chain closed 100 units last year, 66 of them in the United States. Plans call for some 60 to 70 units to close this year.

In the quarter, sales were $2.9 billion, up 24.4% from the same period a year ago. Comparable-store sales rose 17.4%. Net earnings were $189.8 million for the 13-week fourth quarter, compared with earnings of $129.8 million for the 14-week fourth quarter of 2006.

For the fiscal year, sales were $7.1 billion, up from 33% from the prior year. Comp-store sales rose 24.7%. Net earnings were $288.3 million, compared with earnings of $158.3 million for the previous year.

GameStop Corp. operates 5,264 retail stores in 16 countries.

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