UK Markets closed

Blockbuster Shuts 129 Shops And Slashes Staff

(c) Sky News 2013

The collapsed DVD and games rental firm Blockbuster is to close 129 of its 528 shops and axe 760 workers in the coming weeks.

Some 31 branches have already been put on notice of closure, according to the company's administrators Deloitte.

The move means the chain is already planning to close a quarter of its branches and make 18% of its workforce redundant.

It was announced just days after the chain went into administration in a run of bad news for the British high street.

There will be fears that this is just the first step in taking apart a company that employs more than 4,000 people in the UK.

Lee Manning, of administrator Deloitte, said: "Having reviewed the portfolio with management, the store closure plan is an inevitable consequence of having to restructure the company to a profitable core which is capable of being sold.

"We would like to thank the company's employees for their support and professionalism during this difficult time. We are also grateful to the customers for their continued support."

An employee helpline and an "employee assistance programme" have been set up to help staff find other jobs.

The firm's trading woes were blamed on competition from internet firms and digital streaming of movies and games.

Blockbuster had struggled to adapt to the changing market and rivalry from internet retailers including Netflix (NasdaqGS: NFLX - news) , Amazon's LoveFilm and iTunes, which now offers a movie rental service.

Its collapse came after its own plans to break into film-streaming appeared to stall in recent months.

It follows the demise of camera chain Jessops and electricals group Comet, which also blamed competition from online players for their downfall.

Just a day before Blockbuster went into administration, the music and entertainment chain HMV went under following dismal Christmas sales.

More From Sky News