As we wait with some anticipation for news on Hilco’s bid to buy HMV out of administration, the other British entertainment retailer that collapsed in January – Blockbuster – has been rescued, albeit in a streamlined form.
Restructuring specialist Gordon Brothers Europe has bought the Blockbuster brand in the UK, and reportedly plans to keep a high street network going of about 264 stores (about half of the shops the firm was operating when it went into administration).
However, much of the company’s game and film rental operations will be moved online, where it can better compete with younger competitors LoveFilm and Netflix, with new product lines introduced in store, likely to include digital content devices and music products.
Confirming the deal, Joint Administrator Lee Manning told reporters: “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”.
Former HMV Commercial Director Gary Warren, who was involved in various aspects of HMV’s business before departing in July 2011, has been hired to be MD of the all new Blockbuster UK.
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