Buyer found for Blockbuster stores, says administrator

People walk past Blockbusters store (file photo 2010) Hundreds of Blockbuster stories were shut in the weeks after its collapse in January

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DVD and games rental chain Blockbuster has been sold to restructuring specialists Gordon Brothers Europe, its administrators have said.

The move raises the likelihood 2,000 jobs and 264 stores will be saved.

Blockbuster went into administration in January after losing business to online firms streaming films over the internet as well as rentals through the post.

At the time, the firm had 528 stores - among them were 49 since bought by the supermarket Morrisons.

Around 200 stores were closed.

Analysis

Blockbuster simply couldn't compete with widespread competition from digital TV and online rental firms - such as Lovefilm and Netflix - and internet retailers such as Amazon.

But Gordon Brothers Europe believes the Blockbuster brand itself remains a "powerhouse".

The administrators have already slimmed the company down to about half its former size. Now the plan is to turn what's left into a viable business again.

That will mean significant changes. The shops will start to sell more - especially games and music - and a range of new products and new technologies.

The rental business will largely be based online. According to Gordon Brothers Europe's chief executive Frank Morton, the company intends to "bring new life to a High Street staple".

The sale of the 264 stores to Gordon Brothers Europe is for an undisclosed sum.

'Thanks to employees'

Joint administrator Lee Manning, said: "Having identified a profitable core portfolio of stores we are pleased to have achieved this sale for creditors.

"Together with the previously announced store sales more than half of the original estate has been secured for ongoing use.

"This transaction provides Blockbuster with a future in the UK and we owe a special vote of thanks to all the company's employees, suppliers and customers for helping us rescue the business."

Blockbuster is one of several High Street names to have come under pressure in recent times - particularly from online competitors.

Among them are camera chain Jessops, which has gone into administration; music and DVD group HMV, which has closed 66 stores; and electrical chain Comet, which closed its doors for the last time before Christmas.

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