Business as usual at Blockbuster

Blockbuster UK is not closing any stores and is a profitable business, insists MD Martin Higgins.
The firm broke its silence after news emerged that its US parent could face bankruptcy.

MCV recently reported that Blockbuster is looking to sell its UK arm.

However, Higgins has denied analyst statements that the firm is closing stores in order to help facilitate a sale.

There is no major store-closing programme going on,” Higgins told MCV.

I don’t have any stores in the UK right now losing money to the extent that it is worth closing them.

In the normal course of events, we have closed some stores. In 2006 we had 700 stores, and we now have just over 640. With a store portfolio of this scale you will always have some shops lose money that you sell to someone else, or isn’t right for you.”

Following news that Blockbuster has appointed someone to sell its UK business, MCV was contacted to say a deal was at an ‘advanced stage.’

Higgins says that although he is not directly involved in the sale of the business, news of an imminent sale is not something he is aware of.

Someone is making it up, and if they’re not making it up, it’s news to me,” he added.

The company has stated it wants to dispose of its international businesses and has decided to sell them.

This is a good company, it is profitable, it doesn’t have any debt and is robust. Our profits are up nearly 18 per cent, and there are not many retailers in the UK able to say that.

We run a separate legal entity over here. If our parent company does go into bankruptcy we would trade on as normal.

At Blockbuster it’s business as usual for me.”

Blockbuster US revealed last week its concern that increasingly competitive industry conditions” means there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern”.

The firm reported a $434.9m loss in Q4 last year. Its US arm is said to have debts of $1bn.

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