Blockbuster to close 10 metro stores

  • Article by: JIM BUCHTA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 6, 2012 - 8:17 PM

The company pivots away from bricks-and-mortar outlets.

Facing stiff competition from online movie retailers such as Netflix, Blockbuster said it plans to close 10 Twin Cities-area stores and one in Duluth in the next several months.

The Wayzata store will shut its doors at the end of January. Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Columbia Heights and Eden Prairie are scheduled to close in mid-February. Stores in Hudson, Wis., Woodbury, Blaine, Savage, New Hope and Duluth will go out of business in March.

Several of those stores already have stopped renting movies, but are open for sales of CDs and other merchandise.

The company, based in the Dallas suburb of McKinney, Texas, wouldn't discuss details but said its stores can close for various reasons, including the loss of a lease and issues with the size of a store. Blockbuster went into bankruptcy in 2010 and was purchased in 2011 by Dish Network Corp., which now operates Blockbuster as a subsidiary.

Seven Minnesota stores will remain after the closings, said Blockbuster spokesperson Kelsey Smith. Those include stores in Bloomington, Rosemount, West St. Paul, Minneapolis, Edina, Cloquet and Mountain Iron.

Not long ago, Blockbuster and other movie rental companies were ubiquitous, but the digital age is allowing consumers to access movies and games in many other ways, including online, through cable providers and via subscription.

Blockbuster is trying to adapt and is shifting its focus from traditional stores to subscriptions and services that allow entertainment and games to be downloaded to computers and other devices. Last fall, the company announced plans for an app that allows subscribers to rent and watch movies through a Facebook platform.

Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376

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