Blockbuster Collapses: 4,200 Jobs At Risk

The crisis on Britain's high streets is continuing after Blockbuster UK, the DVD rental chain, called in administrators in a move which puts more than 4,000 jobs at risk.

Blockbuster UK has appointed the accountancy firm Deloitte to handle an insolvency process less than 48 hours after it was hired to oversee the administration of HMV , the entertainment retailer.

The move was confirmed following a report by Sky News.

The spate of administrations threatens to make this one of the grimmest periods in the history of the high street as retailers face up to the prospect that they can no longer compete with digital competitors.

Blockbuster has been especially hurt by the growth of online film rental companies such as Lovefilm. A plan for Blockbuster to offer its own version of a film-streaming service appeared to stall in recent months.

Blockbuster UK, which is headquartered in Uxbridge, employs almost 4,200 staff and operates from 528 stores.

Its parent company, Blockbuster LLC in the US, is owned by The Dish Network, a US telecoms and media group which is headed by Charlie Ergen, a billionaire businessman.

Lee Manning, a partner at Deloitte, said: "In recent years Blockbuster has faced increased competition from internet-based providers along with the shift to digital streaming of movies and games.

"We are working closely with suppliers and employees to ensure the business has the best possible platform to secure a sale, preserve jobs and generate as much value as possible for all creditors.

"The core of the business is still profitable and we will continue to trade as normal in both retail and rental whilst we seek a buyer for all or parts of the business as a going concern.

"During this time gift cards and credit acquired through Blockbuster's trade-in scheme will be honoured towards the purchase of goods."

A spokesman for the administrator said the company's pension scheme was fully funded and gift-cards would be honoured at Blockbuster stores.

The recent flurry of retail collapses threatens to remove some of the famous names on British high streets.

If buyers cannot be found for HMV and Blockbuster, they will join the likes of Jessops, JJB Sports, Clintons Cards and Comet, which have all been forced to call in administrators.

The fact that the collapses of Blockbuster, HMV and Jessops have happened within just a few days of each other - with the potential combined loss of more than 10,000 jobs - also threatens to escalate the crisis into a broader political issue.

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