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Are the Stores Really the Keyes to Blockbuster's Success?

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Blockbuster's bossman and guitar hero Jim Keyes is certainly doing all he can to save the Dallas-based video-rental company, which has way too many stores (6,000 and then some) to move quickly enough to catch Netflix. Hence, the WTF ideas of late, chief among them the DVD-rental ATM and the downloading kiosk. All smell vaguely of desperation's sweat.

Well, late yesterday, a Friend of Unfair Park forwarded along this wide-ranging Q&A done last week with the former 7-Eleven CEO, who addresses both of those ideas and plenty more. Can't say he turns the skeptic into a true believer either, not when he says it's time to get folks back into the stores and away from the mail-order business.

We said, ‘You know what we’re doing? We’re taking people out of the $24 billion in store segment and we’re forcing them into this smaller by mail segment. We’re spending a ton to do that. Why don’t we just stop trying to buy customers with advertising and banner ads and everything else and let’s just show our customers the advantage of going cross channel,’ because the big advantage versus Netflix.

Keyes maybe needs to think about investing in Entertainmart, if that's his solution. Because, sure, the kiosks may offer a deeper inventory -- but, really, so does your home computer. --Robert Wilonsky

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