THE administrators of DVD and computer games rental chain Blockbuster plan to close a further 164 stores.

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But the Blockbuster branches in Suffolk and north Essex which survived an initial round of closures last month have again escaped, at least for the time being.

The joint administrators, from accountancy firm Deloitte, said the decision to closure more stores was “a result of an ongoing review of the portfolio and discussions with landlords and interested parties”.

They game no time-scale for the closures other than that they would take place “over the coming weeks”.

“There will be a number of closing down promotions across the stores to supplement those already on offer across the estate,” Deloitte’s statement added.

“The remaining stores will continue to trade as usual whilst administrators progress negotiations with bidders.”

The administrators announced within days of their appointment in mid-January that 129 of Blockbuster’s original portfolio of 528 outlets were to close.

Among the stores identified for closure were the Woodbridge Road and St Matthew’s Street branches in Ipswich and those in Ipswich Street, Stowmarket, and Gold Street, Saffron Walden.

The Ipswich branch in Felixstowe Road, together with other Blockbuster stores in Colchester, Felixstowe, Clacton-on-Sea, Mildenhall, Lowestoft, Newmarket and Thetford escaped that round of closures and a spokesman for Deloitte said today that none of these outlets was on the latest list either.

Deloitte confirmed that staff in the stores affected by the closures would face redundancy and said a an employee helpline was in place, alongside a programme to help those the employees affected find alternative jobs. It did not specify the number of staff likely to be affected, but Blockbuster stores are thought to have an average of around five employees.

The firm added that standard rental terms and conditions remained in place and that customers would be notifed in advance of closures so that they had time to return outstanding rental items.

Lee Manning, joint administrator, said: “We have continued to review the performance of individual stores since our appointment a month ago and have concluded that further closures are necessary in order to restructure the company for sale.

“We would like to thank the Company’s employees for their support and professionalism during this difficult time and we are also grateful for the continued support of customers.

“We are in discussions with a number of parties interested in purchasing all or parts of the business and will update on progress in due course.”

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