Business, Economics and Jobs

Blockbuster to close all US stores early in new year, owner says


The Blockbuster logo on the side of a store in San Francisco, Calif.


Justin Sullivan

Video-rental company Blockbuster LLC will close all of its stores and distribution centers in the United States by January 2014, Dish Network Corp. announced on Wednesday.

Dish owns Blockbuster, having acquired it out of bankruptcy in April 2011.

Blockbuster has only 300 stores left, down from about 9,000 stores in 2004. Streaming video services offered by upstarts such as Netflix, Redbox and Hulu have all but killed the video-rental industry.

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Blockbuster will also stop its DVD-by-mail service by mid-December, Dish officials said. Dish will continue to offer Blockbuster On Demand video-streaming.

Over the past 18 months, Blockbuster has divested itself of operations in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.

Dish officials said the company will continue to support Blockbuster franchise operations, relationships and agreements domestically and abroad.

“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” Dish chief executive officer Joseph Clayton said in the statement. “We continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offer."