Dish Network will keep 600 Blockbuster stores open


Blockbuster’s new owner has unveiled its plans and they include keeping the brick-and-mortar portion of the movie rental chain in business. About 600 Blockbuster stores make up a list of leases that the satellite TV provider said it will assume in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. But that also means that another 1,000 Blockbuster stores may be closing soon.

Before Dallas-based Blockbuster was sold earlier this month, it had trimmed its U.S. store count to 1,726 stores. Dish hasn’t yet disclosed its full plans for Blockbuster, but those operations will probably phase down in the coming weeks as the business transitions to Dish’s Englewood, CO HQ. It may also keep the McKinney distribution center in Texas operating to supply its stores and DVD-by-mail customers, but Dish has so far not assumed the lease after Blockbuster, said The Dallas Morning News.

Dish Network won Blockbuster in a bankruptcy court auction on 4/6 that drew several bidders. At the time, Dish said that it was interested in the stores while some other bidders planned to liquidate the video chain.

Dish Network’s buy of Blockbuster is expected to close on 4/21. The price tag was pushed up in the auction from the minimum bid of $296 million until other bidders dropped out and Dish claimed the prize at $320 million.

RBR-TVBR observation: Yes, many thought Dish would close more or all of the stores, but remember, now that it owns these retail outlets, it could add Dish customer service and POP displays in the stores to gain more business. Dish is still very much likely to be on track with using Blockbuster’s streaming video service for its own VOD expansion online.