updated 04:25 pm EST, Wed January 16, 2013
Third High Street chain to do so in seven-day period
Movie rentals company Blockbuster's United Kingdom arm has applied for bankruptcy protection after 24 years of operation. The move takes place in the same one-week period as photography chain Jessops and music retailer HMV headed into administration in the UK, unable to battle online retailers and providers of online and post-based services
Unlike its US counterpart, Blockbuster in the UK does not operate any streaming services, and opened its own online DVD rental service in 2002, according to the BBC. In a crowded movie rental market dominated by Netflix and Amazon-owned Lovefilm, the company has been forced to close over 100 of its stores in recent years, but it still operates 528 and employs 4,190 staff.
Accountancy firm Deloitte will be operating the firm until a buyer can be found. Lee Manning of Deloitte, as well as expressing a hope that the business could be kept running and staff employed while undergoing administration, claimed “The core of the business is still profitable,” suggesting it may be attractive as a going concern to the right buyer.
The US operation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 2010, facing debts of $1 billion. It was later bought by Dish under auction, and later the brand was used by the company to create the Blockbuster Movie Pass, bundling satellite TV with mailed disc rentals and streaming video.