The company that once was the biggest force in the video and game rental business is officially shutting down retail operations in the U.S. DISH, which has owned the Blockbuster stores and brand in the U.S. since 2011, announced today it will close the remaining 300 or so retail Blockbuster stores in the country by early January. The few remaining franchised stores will remain open.
The announcement states that the Blockbuster By Mail DVD rental service will also shut down in mid-December. This follows the closing of all Blockbuster stores in Canada in 2011 and last week's announcement that Blockbuster U.K. was entering into administration.
DISH president Joseph P. Clayton stated in the press release, "Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings." That includes the Blockbuster @Home service on the DISH satellite network and the Blockbuster On Demand streaming video service.
Blockbuster Video was founded in 1985 and quickly grew its massive chain of VHS video rental stores to become the single largest such company in the U.S. with as many as 4,000 stores. It also became a big way for gamers to rent console titles and even whole console systems. However, the company was slow to react to the DVD rental business in the late 1990s and lost a ton of its customers, especially when Netflix started its DVD rental-by-mail service. In 2010, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy before being acquired by DISH in 2011 for a mere $320 million.
Source: Dish | Image via Dish