This July 23, 2006 file photo shows customers enter a Blockbuster video store in Dallas. Blockbuster Inc. will start renting movies and television shows through a new gadget that may give consumers another reason to bypass the struggling video chain's 7,500 stores.
Blockbuster Inc. plans to close 182 stores in the next few months as it tries to get its business back in shape in bankruptcy court.
Once the dominant movie rental company in the U.S., Blockbuster has been struggling with mounting losses for years as the popularity of Netflix Inc., cable video on demand and Redbox vending machines grows. The company tried to respond to better meet customers' new media habits, but gained little traction and also failed to keep its debt under control. The Dallas-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.
Blockbuster has already closed more than 1,000 underperforming stores in the past two years. It had about 3,000 stores when it entered bankruptcy protection and planned to keep the stores operating, but analysts anticipated hundreds of stores would eventually shut their doors. The company revealed in documents filed in Manhattan bankruptcy court on Friday that it plans to close 72 stores before the end of the year and another 110 stores in the first few months of 2011.
The locations of the stores weren't disclosed. Blockbuster also said in the documents that it is renegotiating leases on stores it is looking to keep open.
Blockbuster is expected to emerge from bankruptcy protection later in 2011 under new owners led by billionaire investor Carl Icahn.