Blockbuster video is the latest high street shop to enter administration, following HMV and Jessops. Blockbusters have been facing rising competition from falling DVD prices, online rentals from Lovefilm.com (postal delivery) or Netflix or Appee’s iTunes and also illegal downloads.
Blockbuster has 528 shops in the UK and all are facing closure, with 4,190 jobs threatened. Unlike HMV and Jessops which have had to compete with supermarkets and the Internet, Blockbuster has really suffered from a change in preferred digital media in general.
DVD’s are easy to replicate which has aided the relative reduction in purchase prices. Many DVD’s can be bought for less that Blockbuster’s charges for a 2-3 night rental. Although Blockbuster has launched its own online rental service and also has an online shop, it has the added cost of operating high street stores.
There are many Blockbuster stores around Essex and all are at threat of closure;
- CHELMSFORD – SPRINGFIELD – Telephone No: 01245 269767
- BILLERICAY (HIGH STREET) – Telephone No: 01277 653223
- WITHAM (NEWLAND ST) – Telephone No: 01376 511141
- BRAINTREE, 7 RAYNE ROAD – Telephone No: 01376 551759
- BRENTWOOD (HIGH STREET) – Telephone No: 01277 203285
- BASILDON (HERON RETAIL PARK) – Telephone No: 01268 271300
- RAYLEIGH (HIGH STREET) – Telephone No: 01268 779420
- STANFORD-LE-HOPE (CORRINGHAM) – Telephone No: 01375 645382
- BISHOP’S STORTFORD – Telephone No: 01279 655649
Early Signs of Problems
A few months ago I bought a new bike from Cycle King on Springfield Road in Chelmsford and decided to walk through Blockbuster video rentals. I was curious to know how they were still operating under these tough economic times, and with so many people downloading films from the Internet at a fraction of the price (often paying nothing, illegally).
What I saw was that Blockbuster were selling a lot of their stock, something I do not remember from the days when I used to rent videos, about 10 years ago.
The high street is changing rapidly. While we can blame the credit crunch and economic problems, for companies such as Blockbuster the real problem is that people no longer wish to rent videos when they can be purchased for little more than the cost of rental – especially when buying online and downloading. Really it is surprising that they lasted for as long as they did.
At the moment there is still a change that somebody may step in to buy out Blockbuster. However, with the cost of renting stores across Essex and the dwindling demand for rentals, prospects are not good. We are still waiting to hear the true fate of HMV, Game and Jessops.