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Jenna Duncan

Local Blockbuster store marked to close

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer
By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer

Blockbuster in Denton to shut down by early January, company states

After more than a dozen years in business, the Blockbuster on West University Drive in Denton will close early next year along with 300 other Blockbuster locations nationwide.

DISH Network Corporation, which owns Blockbuster, announced Wednesday in a press release that all retail operations would close by early January except for 50 franchised stores in the U.S., and that all Blockbuster DVD-by-mail operations would end in mid-December. About 2,800 people who work in Blockbuster’s stores and distribution centers will lose their jobs, according to the company.

The Blockbuster @ Home service and Blockbuster on Demand will continue to operate.

The closures reflect an industry shift toward the digital market that many companies are moving toward, said Terry Pohlen, University of North Texas professor and director of the Center for Logistics Education and Research.

“Several companies are essentially trying to reduce their physical footprint and move toward an online format, and they find they don’t have to have a dedicated distribution center anymore,” he said. “When you’re going digital, you’re not going to need all of that infrastructure behind it for the storage of material.”

Potentially, Blockbuster could use a third-party vendor to help distribute its products, such as a cable partnership for Blockbuster boxes or one with Amazon to sell DVDs to maintain some physical presence in the industry, Pohlen said.

“It’s a way for them to still have the brand and presence, but they don’t have to own the facilities and they don’t have those costs and assets on the books,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Denton store showed no signs of closing, as shelves were full of DVDs, Blu-Rays and video games. A handful of customers trickled in and out of the store, which was managed by one employee during the day.

The manager at the Denton Blockbuster declined to comment about the closing, and corporate media relations did not return a request for comment.

A Blockbuster location in Lewisville on South State Highway 121 is also slated to close.

The University Drive location has been open for more than 15 years. A second Denton location was opened in 1997, but has since been closed.

Dish bought the movie rental chain in 2011 for $320 million after it filed for bankruptcy in September 2010. Blockbuster suffered an operating loss of $35 million on revenue of $1.1 billion last year and posted an operating loss of $4 million during the first half of this year.

This article contains material from The Associated Press and The Dallas Morning News.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.