Sale of 264 Blockbuster stores offers lifeline to 2,000 employees

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The Independent Online

More than 2,000 staff at the DVD rental chain Blockbuster have seen their jobs saved by an investment company that previously helped to rescue the Republic fashion group.

Gordon Brothers Europe has bought 264 Blockbuster shops out of administration. The chain suffered over the past few years, as customers switched to buying and renting films online, but as recently as 2009 Blockbuster made a £4.6m pre-tax profit and still has 2.9m members.

Frank Morton, chief executive at Gordon Brothers Europe, said: "We know we have a challenge ahead but there is still a market to be served. Blockbuster has a strong brand affinity, and we believe that with the right mix of new products, new technologies, strategic management and marketing, we can bring new life to this high-street staple."

Gary Warren, a former UK and Ireland commercial director at HMV, which also failed this year, has been made Blockbuster's managing director. He has worked for more than 20 years in the retail sector.

Last month, Gordon Brothers advised Republic after it had gone into administration, helping to increase sales and stabilise profits. As a result, Sports Direct bought all 116 stores and other assets of the business, such as its base in Leeds.

The high street has seen a number of notable collapses in the past 12 months. The camera group Jessops, which had to close all of its 187 stores, was among the most high profile.

Gordon Brothers was founded in 1903 and specialises in turning around distressed businesses. As well as the UK, it works in the US, Germany and Japan.