Blockbuster Closing 960 Stores, Shifting Focus to Kiosks

Paul Lilly

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Blockbuster plans to board up anywhere from 810 to 960 of its retail locations by the end of 2010. Blockbuster says the closures affect all unprofitable stores as it aims "to improve four-wall profitability."

Most of the closures will take place this year, with between 580 and 685 stores expected to be on the chopping block. The remaining unprofitable stores will shut down sometime next year, but there's still time to turn things around.

"All these stores are candidate stores," Blockbuster spokesperson Randy Hargove said in a phone conversation with Cnet . "Although we may in fact close that many stores, if we can renegotiate leases or remodel stores to make them more profitable, that number might go down."

Meanwhile, the company's kiosk business continues to grow and is set to explode this year. In a separate filing with the SEC, Blockbuster said it plans to have 2,500 units available by the end of 2009, up significantly from the 497 kiosk units now available. And by the end of the 2010, Blockbuster anticipates 10,000 kiosks scattered throughout the country in an attempt to "increase the points of distribution."

And maybe increase its stock price. Blockbuster shares are currently trading for $1.40, a far cry from the $45 Netflix shares change hands at.

Image Credit: blogs.dallasobserver.com

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