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News : UK Economy Last Updated: Jan 17, 2013 - 7:02 AM

Blockbuster latest high street victim of online competition in UK
By Finfacts Team
Jan 17, 2013 - 6:56 AM

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Blockbuster, the movie rental firm, collapsed into administration on Wednesday, putting more than 4,000 jobs in peril as another high street retailer in the UK fell to online competition. Its demise has been termed another company that failed "to adapt to the changing retail conditions," by a leading internet entrepreneur.  

The UK unit of the American entertainment firm, which has 528 stores in Britain, joined music group HMV and photography specialist Jessops on the list of collapsed retailers. Also Wednesday, Orange and T-Mobile operator EE announced plans to close 78 stores. And fashion brand Gio-Goi, popular with celebrities, has appointed KPMG as administrator.

Blockbuster has appointed Deloitte to seek buyers for all or part of the business.

“There are of course individually different reasons for failure, but the retailers that are struggling are chiefly those who have failed to move with the times”, says Dan Wagner, CEO and chairman of mPowa and Powa Technologies, responsible for implementing online and mobile retail platforms for some of the leading high street names. “I am afraid Blockbuster is another retailer who has failed to adapt its bricks-and-mortar model to the threat of the internet. They should have planned and executed a strategy taking into account the major current shifts in the retail landscape.”

Wagner added: “Blockbuster has faced aggressive competition from rivals such as Lovefilm and Netflix offering cheap, easy and convenient access to films and TV content by streaming. UK consumers are the most internet-savvy in the world, spending on average of £1,083 a year shopping online, and companies needed digitally focused strategies from the outset of this online revolution. Those that did not have one were bound to struggle as they tried to play catch-up.”

“More retailers may succumb to a similar fate, and entertainment may face its own particular pressures. Retailers must stay ahead of the game and have an effective online and offline strategy in place if they are to survive in this new technology-focused era.”

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