Struggling movie business Blockbuster plans to close 72 stores by the end of 2010 and up to 110 stores in early 2011, as the company tries to work out of bankruptcy. Blockbuster filed bankruptcy in late September, with mounting debts and continues to struggle competing against video-on-demand and rental kiosks.
Blockbuster plans to leave bankruptcy during Q2 2011 — but will have a smaller number of profitable businesses. The company hasn’t listed the specific stores that will be closed.
There are less than 3,000 Blockbuster stores left across the United States, with 1,000 previously closing as the company restructured. Each store closed was a strategic move depending on sales figures and other contributing factors, but company executives are hopeful that new stores in target locations could be successful.
Under billionaire investor Carl Icahn, investors are hopeful Blockbuster will be able to leave bankruptcy protection and agree to successful lease re-negotiations with landlords. Icahn’s influence on the company could help start a spark necessary to bring renewed interest to the company via new investors.
Meanwhile, Blockbuster continues to rent and sell DVDs and Blu-ray movies at retail locations, but has adjusted to make changes. The company continues to add new VOD partners and has $2.99 premium rentals available at its expanding rental kiosk business.
Even with Icahn’s influence (and deep pockets) I still don’t know if Blockbuster will be able to suddenly find success. It’s refreshing to see that the company hasn’t simply thrown in the towel, but Redbox, Netflix, and other rivals will continue to put heavy pressure on the company’s customer base and profits.