Blockbuster To Shut With 1,200 Job Losses
No buyer is found for the retailer with rentals to cease on Saturday as administrators plan the chain's demise, Sky News learns.
9:33am UK, Thursday 05 December 2013
Blockbuster collapsed in October after a turnaround plan failed
The movie and games rental chain Blockbuster is to be closed down by the year's end with the loss of 1,200 jobs, Sky sources say.
The development will be a bitter, but hardly surprising, pre-Christmas blow to the remaining staff after store numbers were slowly cut by administrators Moorfields Corporate Recovery in the weeks after the retailer's collapse - its second of the year - following the failure of the new owner's turnaround plan.
It is understood no buyer has been found for the outstanding 153 shops and 62 of them will be shut in the next few days with the loss of 427 posts.
The other 91 stores are set to close by the end of the year, resulting in the remaining 808 jobs being axed, unless a deal can be done with someone wanting to take on the firm as a video and games chain.
The sources believe there has only been some interest in Blockbuster's customer lists and its sale by post business.
An official statement, expected later on Thursday, is also due to confirm that all rental activity will cease from Saturday and stock will be sold off at discounts of up to 70% as stores close down.
Blockbuster was snapped up in March by private equity group Gordon Brothers Europe after its initial collapse in January but the new owners said it had continued to suffer from poor trading and was placed in administration last month.
Gordon Brothers also failed to broker a licensing deal with US company Blockbuster LCC, which owns the brand, for a new digital platform though that was likely due to the demise of the US chain, which is also closing down.
The failure of the brand's fortunes - on both sides of the Atlantic - was largely blamed on shifting consumer trend towards online movie rentals and on-demand TV.
Blockbuster in the UK was also hit hard by intense competition from supermarkets and online DVD sales.
The devastating impact of web-based sales on Britain's high streets has been laid bare in the past year by the demise of camera chain Jessops and electricals group Comet, which also cited competition from online players as a major reason for their declines.
Jessops was later reborn under the control of entrepreneur Peter Jones of TV Dragons' Den fame.
A string of high street retailers have been reporting tough trading conditions, with the pick up in the economy failing to spark a spending spree because of the continuing squeeze on living standards through low wage growth and high price rises.
Barratts Shoes entered administration for the third time in four years last month with more than 1,000 jobs at risk while Sky News learned this week that Midlands-based Osbornes the stationers was to fold.
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