Blockbuster to operate 1,500-plus stores

July 21, 2011 at 7:56 PM

MCKINNEY, Texas, July 21 (UPI) -- Blockbuster LLC said Thursday it has assumed contracts with property owners and will maintain operations of more than 1,500 U.S. movie-rental stores.

The stores would have closed under liquidation, as approved in a New York bankruptcy court this week. Blockbuster also will retain more than 15,000 store employees, the company said.

"We're pleased that we will continue to operate more than 90 percent of the stores that were offered at auction in April," Michael Kelly, president of Blockbuster, said in a statement. "By lowering pricing and offering competitive summer promotions, we've brought millions of customers back into Blockbuster stores in the last three months to experience the best in convenience, choice and value. Today, more than 100 million people live near a Blockbuster store."

"Unfortunately, despite our efforts to reach reasonable terms, some property owners have closed stores," Kelly added. "However, we'll continue to look for opportunities for physical distribution in these neighborhoods as we expand our in-store experience, unmatched for movies and family entertainment."

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