Blockbuster checks out of Tupelo

TUPELO – If you have late fees at the Blockbuster Video store in Tupelo, don’t worry about it.
At least, that’s what customers were told Wednesday when they discovered that the South Gloster Street business had closed.
The store, owned by Blockbuster franchisee Twin States Video, was closed Wednesday with little notice and apparently for good.
A sign on the door read, “This Blockbuster location is now closed. We appreciate your business and loyalty throughout the years. Best regards, Twin States Video, Blockbuster franchisee.”
Calls to Twin States were not returned.
It’s unclear how many employees were at the business and what their fate is.
Customers also were told the store will not sell its DVDs or games because the merchandise will be shipped to other stores.
The Blockbuster in Tupelo was the lone remaining video rental store in the city.
Hollywood Video closed in late 2009 when its parent company, Movie Gallery Inc., shuttered its operations nationwide. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2008 but had been closing stores sporadically.
Earlier in 2009, Tupelo-based Southern Video closed its three stores in Tupelo and Ripley, citing several reasons, including a changing movie rental industry. The company had been in business for 25 years.
The video rental industry has been struggling in recent years, with brick-and-mortar stores desperately looking for ways to compete with Netflix, Redbox, on-demand services via cable TV and other Internet-based rental services.
In 2003, there were 25,042 establishments that focused primarily on DVD, video game and VHS rentals, and industry revenues were $11.9 billion according to IBIS World, a Los Angeles-based research firm. In 2010, the industry dropped to 17,369 stores with revenues of $7.8 billion.
Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. It closed more than 1,000 stores in 2009 and posted a $517 million loss, despite $5 billion in sales that year. When it filed for bankruptcy protection, it listed more than $1 billion in debts.
And last month, Dish Network completed a $320 million acquisition of Blockbuster’s assets at an auction, sealing the fate of what had once been the nation’s largest video rental chain.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal