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TMCNet:  2 more isle stores targeted in latest round of Blockbuster Video closures

[January 23, 2013]

2 more isle stores targeted in latest round of Blockbuster Video closures

Jan 23, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Dish Network Corp. is planning to close at least two of the five remaining Blockbuster Video stores in Hawaii, according to local managers.

The financially troubled DVD-rental chain said Tuesday that it would close approximately 300 stores in the coming weeks, but did not announce the locations that would be shuttered. Local store managers said outlets in Wahiawa at 823 California Ave. and at 111 E. Puainako St. in Hilo would close March 24. The nationwide closures will affect about 3,000 workers and leave roughly 500 stores in the U.S., The Associated Press reported.

The Hilo store has nine employees, according to a manager on duty. A Wahiawa store manager wouldn't say how many it employed.

It is unclear whether the company plans to close any other Hawaii locations in the future.

"We are evaluating profitability on an individual store basis," the company said in an email to the Star-Advertiser. "We continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand and we will continue to analyze store-level profitability and -- as we have in the past -- close unprofitable stores. Some of the approximately 300 stores are reaching the end of their lease and others are closing based on overall performance." Nathaniel Hartmann, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business, said video streaming technology is killing the rental business.

"The days of thriving brick-and-mortar video-rental chains are likely over," he said. "For many of these video-rental chains, failure comes from their lack of ability to understand and adapt to the changing technology environment.

"Many of these video-rental chains bet their future on the belief that consumers' fear of technology would limit the success of streaming services. But consumers today are no longer afraid of the 'T' (technology) word. Instead, many consumers primed to overcome limited leisure time resulting from dual-income households, single-parent households and increasing time at work are rushing to adapt convenient timesaving streaming services." However, not all consumers have adapted to video streaming and are sad to see the brick-and-mortar stores go away.

Blockbuster has become a regular stop for Kapahulu resident Joy McGee, who rents videos at least twice a week.

"I like to be able to go in and get movies at my convenience and not have to wait for them to come in the mail," she said. "They come out with the newer movies quicker than Netflix. I just like the convenience of being able to go to the store when I feel like it." But McGee acknowledged that the demise of video-rental chains like Blockbuster may be inevitable.

"Technology is just getting better and better, so they're trying to find more convenient ways for companies to make money," she added. "They're doing away with all kinds of stuff now. I think it's sad -- it's still better to have the option (of going into a store)." The company closed two Hawaii stores late last year -- one in Kahului and another in Kailua -- and earlier shut down locations in Kapiolani, Kapolei and Waipio in the wake of poor sales and fierce competition.

Dish Network closed stores in Pearl City, Kaneohe and at the Kamehameha Shopping Center in July 2011. Earlier that year, outlets in Mililani, Waianae and Salt Lake were shuttered, along with a store in Kailua-Kona.

___ (c)2013 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Visit The Honolulu Star-Advertiser at www.staradvertiser.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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