164 more Blockbuster stores to shut

BlockbusterAnother 164 stores at DVD and games rental firm Blockbuster are to shut, administrators for the chain have announced.

The latest planned closures, which threaten around 800 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 latest 164 stores identified 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.

Blockbuster struggled to adapt to the changing market and rivalry from internet retailers including Netflix, Amazon's LoveFilm and iTunes, which now 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.