Blockbuster to close 164 shops

Kasmira Jefford
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BLOCKBUSTER, the DVD and games rental chain, is to close a further 164 stores the firm’s administrators said yesterday, putting a further 800 staff at risk.

Deloitte said the stores will shut over the coming week as part of a “phased closure” as it continues to find a buyer for the business and its remaining 204 stores. The latest cull comes on top of the 168 store closures announced last month. The chain employed 4,190 staff and ran 528 stores at the time of its collapse. last month.

Lee Manning, joint administrator, 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.”

The beleaguered chain was forced to call in administrators last month after losses widened from £8.5m in 2011 to £11.2m last year.

It US owners injected more funds into the business in the autumn so that it could pay suppliers but trading conditions worsened over Christmas.

Like HMV, Blockbuster has faced increased online competition from internet based rental companies along with the shift to digital streaming of movies and games.