2000 jobs saved as Blockbuster UK sold

Gordon Brothers Europe buys entertainment chain, will retain 264 stores

Administrators Deloitte have confirmed that Blockbuster UK has found a buyer in restructuring specialists Gordon Brothers Europe. The move will keep 264 outlets open and save around 2000 jobs.

The value of the deal has not been revealed, and the brand will be licensed from US based Blockbuster LLC. Gordon Brothers Europe was also recently involved in the restructuring process for Jessops, the high street photography chain, and fashion brand Republic.

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

"Together with the previously announced store sales more than half of the original estate has been secured for ongoing use. This transaction provides Blockbuster 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 UK and Ireland commercial director Gary Warren has been appointed as managing director. He left HMV retailer, which is currently itself in administration, in June 2011. He has also worked with book retailer Waterstones and the Canadian arm of the HMV brand.

"We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Blockbuster. We acknowledge the industry is in transition; we know that we have a challenge ahead but there is still a market to be served," added Gordon Brothers CEO Frank Morton.

"Blockbuster has a strong brand affinity and we believe that with the right mix of new product offering, new technologies, strategic management and marketing, we can bring new life to this high street staple. We look forward to working with employees, suppliers, landlords and other stakeholders to make this happen."

Blockbuster UK went into administration in January. Last month supermarket chain Morrisons acquired 49 Blockbuster outlets which it plans to use to expand its Morrisons M chain of smaller shops.

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Latest comments (2)

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago
How will it be changed in a way that means it stops hemeraging money? With Game it looked like the refusal to close unprofitable stores, and having multiple stores a stones throw were the biggest problems, with Blockbuster it looks like the problems run deeper.

Maybe they need to rebrand and stop licencing a failing brand from the US. It seems money for very little.
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Gareth Eckley Commercial Analyst 4 years ago
Whilst I'm pleased that the staff will gain a respite from redundancy in these times, the fact remains that the purpose of the high street has completely changed.

Unless you are selling an 'experience' or the purchase has sufficient gravitas that people will still prefer to do it face-to-face, there is basically no reason to go shopping in person. We live in an age where the product one buys in a shop is identical to one bought on the internet, except with none of the convenience or cost savings of direct sales.

Perhaps through heavily leveraging launch events, in store promotions, LAN and competitive play they can encourage sufficient custom to justify the ground rent. I very much doubt they'll survive through any other means.
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