GAME STORE, Colo.
— It’s an unusual time to be a GameStop executive, but when one of the world’s largest online retailers is closing its doors, it means the company is facing its biggest threat to the retail industry since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The retail giant is shutting down its website, calling it a matter of “security and safety,” but it has been making moves to address what it says is a growing threat to online commerce.
The decision to close the online retailer is part of a broader strategy to cut costs and reduce costs in a market that has long struggled to keep up with surging demand from consumers who are increasingly turning to online shopping to save on prices.
GameStop is one of a number of retailers that have closed stores, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Target Corp., as well as its flagship store in New York City, which had more than 8,000 employees and grossed more than $1 billion last year.
Its decision to shut down its online store comes as the company seeks to improve its online-retail business and boost its revenue, according to people familiar with the matter.
The stores were closed to reduce costs and help manage customer traffic, and to protect the company’s network, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations.
The store closures come after more than a dozen high-profile retailers have announced plans to shut stores in recent months, including Gap Inc. , Gap Inc., Target Corp. and Zappos.
That’s a sign of the industry’s ongoing struggle to recover from the economic downturn.
“Retailers are doing it to save money, not to make money,” said Steve Stansbury, chief executive of the consulting firm Convergence Group.
Game Stop has been the target of online threats before, but the moves to shut the stores come amid a larger crisis.
Earlier this month, the company said it was closing some locations in the U.S. and Europe due to increased security concerns.
Game stop said it received several calls in recent weeks from people claiming to be people affiliated with the Islamic State group.
In some cases, the calls came from the same location in Europe where Game Stop has its main headquarters, the people said.
Game Stop said it has not received any threats directly.
Game Stops online-only stores were set up in the late 1990s to provide a more convenient online shopping experience.
GameStop’s stores in the United States and Canada had a combined online-and-offline store count of more than 7,000.
Game’s website and apps, including an app that allows customers to browse their credit card information and buy things on their phones, were designed to allow shoppers to shop for a wide range of goods online.
They also had a popular app that allowed customers to share their credit-card information with friends and family members.
Game Store was founded in 1991 as a start-up by GameStop Inc. CEO Larry Harvey and his wife, Mary Ann.
The company was the largest retailer in the country by revenue before Harvey left the company in 2014 to become CEO of Amazon.
In 2016, Harvey sold the company to Amazon for $3.2 billion, giving him a controlling stake in the company.
GameStores website said the decision to discontinue the stores was based on security concerns and other factors.
The company said in a statement on Wednesday that it had “recently launched a new cybersecurity program in which we are deploying a new, stronger firewall, additional monitoring and other steps to protect our customer data from any external attack.”
The company said its “continued efforts to make sure that our stores are safe and secure continue.”
GameStop was founded by Harvey, who has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Michigan, and Mary Ann Harvey.
The couple married in 2007.
Game stores have long served as a destination for gamers, many of whom use the online shopping site to buy and sell items in the online marketplace.
GameStores has sold millions of games in the past, and the company has more than 10 million users worldwide.