Blockbuster to close more outlets

Another 164 UK stores at DVD and games rental firm Blockbuster are to shut, administrators for the chain announced today.

The latest planned closures, which threaten around 800 UK jobs, come on top of the 168 shops already identified for closure by Deloitte.

Blockbuster collapsed last month amid competition from internet firms and the digital streaming of movies and games.

Having started with 528 stores at the time of its appointment, Deloitte will continue to look for buyers for the stores not currently up for closure.

Joint administrator Lee Manning said: “We have continued to review the performance of individual stores since our appointment a month ago and have concluded that further closures are necessary in order to restructure the company for sale.”

“We are in discussions with a number of parties interested in purchasing all or parts of the business and will update on progress in due course.”

The 164 stores identified today employ an average of five members of staff and will close over the coming weeks.

Deloitte said: “Staff in the stores affected by the closures will be facing redundancy. A dedicated employee helpline is in place and the company is running an employee assistance programme to help those staff facing redundancy find other jobs.”

Customers will be notified in advance of the closure so that they can return their outstanding rental items beforehand. The standard rental terms and conditions remain in place during this time.

Blockbuster struggled to adapt to the changing market and rivalry from internet retailers including Netflix, Amazon’s LoveFilm and iTunes, which also offers a movie rental service.

The devastating impact of the internet on Britain’s high street had already been laid bare with the demise of camera chain Jessops and electricals group Comet, which also cited competition from online players as a major reason for their downfall.

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