Former entertainment giant Blockbuster will reportedly close around 160 stores in the UK. Administrators stated the closings will affect around several hundred employees.
The announcement that Blockbuster would go into administration was made Wednesday, just days after entertainment retailer HMV was forced to do the same. According to Reuters, the closings will take place over the span of the next few weeks.
Administrators will shut around 129 stores that have failed to perform in recent months. Another 31 locations will also be shuttered, though the decision to close up shop on these stores was made prior to the company heading into administration.
Blockbuster administrator Lee Manning said in a statement:
“Having reviewed the portfolio with management, the store closure plan is an inevitable consequence of having to restructure the company to a profitable core which is capable of being sold. The joint administrators continue to review the profitability of the store portfolio and announcements of further closures may be made in coming weeks.”
An “employee assistance program” in the form of a hotline has been put into place to help former employees find new jobs.
The Telegraph reports that the company was quick to point the finger of blame on internet companies, the increasingly popularity of movie streaming services, and the ability to rent films and movies through the mail or free-standing kiosks.
In addition to the closing of several Blockbuster locations, the website states that retailers Jessops and Comet have also been struggling to stay afloat as of late. The companies were also quick to blame online companies for the closure of their brick-and-mortar locations.
According to the Redditch Standard, Blockbuster adminstrators Deloitte LLP said they were uncertain how many jobs would be affected by the closures. However, reports have put the number at around 760 for the time being.
Are you surprised that Blockbuster is forced to close several of its locations in the UK?