Once More, Blockbuster to Close Out Year By Closing a Couple Hundred Stores

It's been exactly a year now since our last extensive sit-down with Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes, who, at the time, referred to the downtown-based videotailer as "a football team that's rebuilding." At the very same time, Blockbuster was shuttering dozens of stores, including the location at Royal Lane and N. Central Expressway you see at left. Keyes said of the closings, it's just business: "Retail chains are like trees -- they get dead limbs, and you have to prune them." Of course, nine months later Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11, from which it may emerge without Keyes at the helm -- we'll have to see in early 2011.

We haven't posted much about Blockbuster since it filed for prepackaged bankruptcy, but every now and then I'll peek at the court docs posted to its reorganization website. Very little exciting happening of late. But as the Associated Press points out today, there was this this filing on Friday worth noting: Blockbuster's about to shutter close to 200 more stores in coming weeks -- 72 before New Year's Eve, with another 110 coming in the first quarter of '11. Which is significant if only because, as the Friday filing notes, since Chapter 11 and Keyes's promise to look-see every lease, Blockbuster has only closed 58 stores.

The filing, which promises further bulk inventory sales close to Christmas, doesn't list the locations of the closures, only how they'll be shuttered; I've left a message for Martin Sosland, the local attorney repping Blockbuster in the Chapter 11 proceedings, for further info about this and other matters. (Sosland, if that name sounds familiar, was also the Texas Rangers' attorney during Tom Hicks's time in bankruptcy.) But as AOL's Daily Finance suggested on Friday, shuttering a couple hundred stores is nothing: "For Blockbuster to have any chance for survival, it'll need to close 100 or more locations per month."

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