Blockbuster to Close About 300 U.S. Stores

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Blockbuster said it will close about 300 of its U.S. stores in the coming weeks, thinning the once ubiquitous video rental chain’s bricks-and-mortar presence.

The closures will result in the loss of about 3,000 jobs and leave the company with about 500 stores in the nation, said John Hall, a spokesman for parent company Dish Network Corp. in Englewood, Colo.

Last week, Blockbuster’s British unit entered into administration, a version of bankruptcy, and said it would close 160 stores there, according to the administrator, accounting and consulting firm Deloitte.

Dish, a nationwide satellite pay-TV provider, acquired Blockbuster and about 1,700 stores in a 2011 bankruptcy sale.

It hoped to use the company’s brand name and online streaming service to compete against the likes of Netflix and Redbox.

Although it streams movies to customers, Dish had hoped to use the Blockbuster stores to market its satellite service.

Hall said some of the stores are being closed because they’re reaching the end of their leases and others because of their poor performance. The company would not say which stores would be closed.

Dish itself has been hurting. The company lost 19,000 subscribers and reported $158 million in red ink for the third quarter. Fourth-quarter figures have not been released.

“We continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand and we will continue to analyze store level profitability and — as we have in the past — close unprofitable stores,” Hall said in an email.

-Los Angeles Times

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