*Blockbuster* will close as many as 960 additional stores through 2010, as the movie rental chain continues to struggle with losses and debt. In a series of SEC filings, Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) outlines how it plans to transform itself into a “multi-channel brand.” In addition to focusing on fewer retail locations, it will increase the numbers of its rental kiosks from 500 to 2,500 by year end, try to grow the subscriber base of its mail-order movie business, and also expand its Blockbuster OnDemand streaming service to “nearly every connected device.”
Of course, by shutting down about a fifth of all of its retail locations, Blockbuster will also be giving its customers more reason to use many of the services that have led to its woes — and which it is belatedly trying to compete with. In a report this morning on Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), Barclays Analyst Doug Anmuth says he expects the store closings to boost Netflix’s subscriber growth.
But then again, Blockbuster does not have much of a choice but to close up the shops. It’s losing money, and the filing notes that 18 percent of all of its stores are unprofitable. Another 35 percent, meanwhile, are responsible for 80 percent of its EBITDA.