Blockbuster Closing About 1,000 Stores

Blockbuster is ramping up its store-closure process. By the end of next year, the retailer is closing up to 960 locations as part of an “accelerated” program, according to a recent SEC filing. That number is up from the up to 425 that were previously on tap.

In addition, the company is trying to terminate between 275 and 300 leases and convert 250 to 300 units into outlets that sell used DVDs. So in a worst-case scenario, that would mean 1,560 Blockbusters will shut down.

As of the end of its second (and most recent) quarter, Blockbuster operated 3,750 US locations, so this will take a significant chunk out of its store base. At the same time, the company is looking to increase its non-physical presence by ramping up its online offerings and adding thousands of Redbox-like kiosks around the country.

Can Blockbuster even successfully maintain any kind of brick-and-mortar presence? But more importantly, are landlords ready for all of this space to come back?

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21 Responses to “Blockbuster Closing About 1,000 Stores”


  1. 1 Bob Greenfest September 16, 2009 at 6:43 am

    Ian – Smart landlords with good Asset Managers would have been planning for this event for years. Blockbuster has been closing stores and squeezing landlords for quite some time. Landlords should have recognized an antiquated business model and started to seek new tenants for Blockbuster spaces years ago when the market was better. For additional insight see http://www.bobgreenfest.wordpress.com or http://tinyurl.com/l4akme.

    • 2 AG September 16, 2009 at 10:55 am

      Blockbuster has successfully renegotiated its rent lower and lower with many landlords over the years. May locations actually have below market rents for the space. With that said it may take subdividing the old space into two or three units to fill them in this economy.

  2. 3 Jerry Hutchison September 16, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Is there a list of the stores to be closed? After all with NETFLEX and On-Demand why do you need stores? They have been slow on the up-take of the business trend.

  3. 6 Retail Lou September 16, 2009 at 9:03 am

    If Blockbuster were to exit the dvd/movie rental business and focus mainly on games, a play vs. GameStop or Play n’ Tarde may be the only avenue for them.

  4. 7 CubicleDweller September 16, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Huh. I was unaware Blockbuster had any stores in operation left to close! The previous Blockbuster locations I pass regularly have already been collecting spiderwebs for months.

  5. 9 Michael DiFede September 16, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I can’t believe they are still in business….

    If we can get SOME movies through our cable or internet outlets, why not ALL MOVIES? The two anwsers have to be “contractual rights” which will be worked out, I am sure (it’s only about money after all) and “bandwidth” which is getting better all the time…

    Blockbuster is a concept whose tikme has come and gone…. like 8 track tapes, cassette tapes, cd’s…..

    What’s next?

  6. 11 BG September 16, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Just watch, GameStop will be in the same situation in 5-7 years.

    Games are just starting to transition from discs sold through brick and mortar outlets to being downloaded directly to consoles. 75% of Gamestop’s sales come from software. Do the math.

  7. 12 David September 16, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I’m a relatively tech savvy guy, and I am surprised to see everyone’s reaction to this. I think Blockbuster’s troubles stem more from over expansion and the current economy, rather than a deeper flaw in their business model. Blockbuster has offered a Netflix like service for years, that allows users to get dvd’s and games in the mail, and return them by mail or in-store. I personally much prefer to have an actual dvd as opposed to “on-demand” or downloaded movies. There are too many restrictions with the latter, i.e. 24 hours to watch, etc. I also know from experience that gamers want actual discs as opposed to downloaded games as well: you can’t resell a downloaded game and if you lose your hard-drive, which happens to us all, you lose the game.

    • 13 double d November 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm

      correction…. games that have been paid for and downloaded can always be downloaded for free again on some systems(microsoft)

  8. 14 Ken Simons September 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I will miss the Brick and Mortar stores. It was a fun time with the family to go movie shopping and pick out a candy.

  9. 15 Cameron Maness September 17, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Landlords that have had to endure below market rents for these endcaps will relish the opportunity to convert these stores into more useful, and higher paying, tenants. Watch for tenants such as Urgent Care groups, Diagnostic Imaging facilities, and other related healthcare uses pounce on the opportunities to occupy these high-profile sites.

  10. 16 Charles H September 17, 2009 at 11:39 am

    The reason Blockbuster has so many stores is they were able to sell stock to the public at inflated prices . That money allowed them to expand into spaces they should have never been in . The business model of running back and forth to a store never made sense even 10-15 years ago . I agree with the Game Stop scenario as well . Anything that can be delivered online will end up being delivered by that method in time . We keep repeating mistakes of the past . too bad… Charles H.

  11. 17 Tahitijack September 18, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Blockbuster in on a similar path that film processing giant Fotomat traveled. As some of us recall in the 1970’s Fotomat was the most convenient place to drop off film one day and pick up pictures the next. But in the 1980’s they could not compete with the one-hour photo labs and eventually the little drive-thru kiosks disappeared as the company went out of business. With the new digial camera technology the one-hour photo shops have been on their way to an unhappy sunset. They have become even less convenient since we can electronicly share our memories faster and more conveniently with fantastic quality images. As others have said this has been a long time coming. On Demand has been available for quite some time and is the most convenient and cost competitive way to watch movies at home. Netflix offers a wider variety of films and is relatively easy to use with an amazingly fast turn around and low cost. Just as Fotomat failed to make the move to the one-hour photo finishing business Blockbuster must now quickly shift away from storefronts and increase its mail order business….or find itself in the retail graveyard.

  12. 18 SWEENEY September 20, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I AM AN INDEPENDENT VIDEO STORE OWNER. I HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR 13 YEARS WITH 3 LOCATIONS. IT IS SAD FOR US LITTLE GUYS THE WAY THE BUSINESS HAS GONE. IT HAS BEEN A FUN RIDE THOUGH. MANY OF OUR CUSTOMERS COME IN WITH THEIR FAMILIES AND MAKE IT A FUN EXPERIENCE. I PERSONALLY WOULD NOT LIKE TO DO BUSINESS WITH A BOX WHO JUST WANTS MY CREDIT CARD INFO.

  13. 19 Dean Wieber September 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Great Clips has leased a portion of operating and closed Blockbusters. These locations have worked well for us and we are aggressively looking for more.

  14. 21 Matthew March 13, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Does anyone know what stores may close in Arkansas? Thanks for any help. I can not find a list anywhere.


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