East Anglia: Blockbuster administrators begin ‘phased closure’ of rental chain’s stores
- Credit: Archant
The administrators of failed DVD rentals chain Blockbuster today launched a “phased closure” of its remaining stores after failing to find a buyer for the business.
A further 30 stores will initially be axed with the loss of another 182 jobs, on top of the 72 closures already announced by the administrators which involved 452 job losses.
Joint Administrators Simon Thomas and Nick O’Reilly of Moorfields Corporate Recovery said in a joint statement: “Following the marketing process to find a buyer for Blockbuster, no acceptable offers have been received for the business. As a result, Moorfields will now seek to oversee an effective phased closure, whilst still exploring any offers for the business as a whole or in part.”
They added: “It is unfortunate that we have been unable to secure a buyer to date, and therefore we have had to take the decision to make further store closures.
“We are continuing to review the profitability of the portfolio and may have to make further closures over the next couple of weeks. We appreciate this is a difficult time for all concerned and would like to thank staff for their ongoing co-operation.”
The initial round of closures included the Blockbuster branches in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich (which had a workforce of eight, St Andrdew’s Street, Mildenhall (seven), and Old Road, Clacton-on-Sea (eight),
Blockbuster’s remaining outlets in Suffolk and north Essex, including branches in Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Newmarket, Halstead, Braintree, Colchester and Chelmsford, have also avoided inclusion in the second round of closures announced today although their long-term survival remains in doubt.
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To support Blockbuster employees affected by the store closures, Moorfields are listing job vacancies for a number of leading retailers on its website at: www.moorfieldscr.com/blockbuster/retail-vacancies .
In addition, the administrators say they are “making every effort” to support customers and have so far issued more than 30,000 refunds for goods and services not received. “We are enormously grateful for their continued loyalty”, they added.
This is the second time this year that Blockbuster has fallen into administration. It was acquired from the previous administrators in March by private equity group Gordon Brothers Europe but is said to have suffered continued poor trading since then.
Although the current administrators have previously reported some interest from potential buyers, it is thought that many are only seeking to acquire sites occupied by Blockbuster rather than the business itself.
During the chain’s last spell in administration, supermarket group Morrisons snapped up 49 of its outlets as part of its convenience store expansion. One of these, in St Matthew’s Street, Ipswich, reopened as a Morrisons M local, earlier this month, creatinig 20 new jobs.