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Blockbuster goes into administration to become latest high street casualty
Video rental chain Blockbuster - once one of the most powerful names in home entertainment - has entered administration putting more than 4,000 jobs at risk.
The group has appointed administrators to oversee the business after facing powerful competition from downloads and video streaming services such as LoveFilm and Netflix.
The move has put 4,198 jobs at risk, including hundreds in the North-East and North Yorkshire.
Blockbuster has 528 stores throughout the country. Administrators have a limited time to find a buyer for some, or all, of them.
The latest grim news comes just days after high street entertainment giant HMV threw in the towel.
In a statement, administrator Deloitte said Blockbuster will continue trading as normal for the time being and will honour gift cards and trade-in credit.
Administrator Lee Mannnig 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."
Blockbuster in Britain survived rather longer than its American parent which filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
The first Blockbuster store opened in Dallas, Texas, at the height of the home video boom in 1985.
The key to its success was an uncanny ability to change the mix of film titles according to the local customer demographic. Thanks to a huge warehousing operation the company could open a new store in just one day.
After winning a court case against Nintendo, Blockbuster moved into renting video games.
In the UK, the company opened its first store in 1989. Blockbuster's aggressive expansion began in the 1990s when it purchased the Ritz chain of video stores.
At the height of its power, Blockbuster was almost able to dictate its terms to film companies. Often premium titles would appear in Blockbuster stores weeks - or even months - before they went on sale.
Things have changed since then. The advent of the internet and the rise of movie streaming services like Netflix have exacted a terrible toll on the old one-night rental model. The few independent video stores that survived the arrival of Blockbuster have largely closed down - but, as with HMV, even being the "last man standing" hasn't saved Blockbuster from administration.
Blockbuster operations in Canada, Spain, Portugal and several other countries have already closed. A slimmed down Blockbuster emerged from US bankruptcy protection and still operates several hundred stores.