DELOITTE ADMINISTRATORS to DVD rental retailer Blockbuster have announced they will close up to 129 stores in the coming weeks.
Insolvency trade body R3 president and Deloitte partner Lee Manning (pictured) has been appointed administrator. Neville Kahn, also a Deloitte partner, joins him, although Kahn's hands are full as he has recently been appointed to high-profile and large administrations Comet and HMV. They are joined by Deloitte partner David Smith.
The joint administrators announced at the weekend that they planned to close 129 stores in the coming weeks as part of a phased closure which will see about 760 staff made redundant. This is in addition to 31 stores which have already been put on notice of closure by management just prior to the administrators' appointment – this has resulted in about 155 redundancies.
Blockbuster is headquartered in Uxbridge and has about 528 stores, employing approximately 4,190 staff.
The administrators confirmed the company has run into trouble in the last few years, facing increased competition in the rental market from online offerings such as Netflix and Lovefilm.
However, they believe that there is a profitable core business and hope to sell the company as a going concern. In the interim, they will continue to trade and, for now, gift cards will be honoured.
Manning said: "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. We would like to thank the company's employees for their support and professionalism during this difficult time."
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