Mixed news for local Blockbuster stores

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THERE was mixed news for Blockbuster stores in Hartlepool and East Durham as administrators confirmed store closures across the UK.

The DVD and games rental chain went into administration last week and administrators yesterday announced 129 stores will close over the coming weeks.

The Hartlepool store, in Marina Way, is not on the list to be immediately axed, though its long-term future remains in the balance.

However, there wasn’t such good news for the store in Yoden Way, in Peterlee, which was confirmed as one of the store’s set to close.

And the joint administrators said further store closures may be made in the near future.

The Blockbuster store in Queensway, Billingham, has also been axed after being on the list of 31 stores which had already been put on notice of closure.

A spokeswoman for administrators Deloitte couldn’t confirm exactly how many jobs would be lost in the Peterlee closure, but said each store has around five members of staff.

Staff at the Peterlee store refused to comment.

The store is still trading as usual and the exact date of closure is yet to be revealed.

Customers will be notified in advance of closure so that they can return their outstanding rental DVDs or games.

A dedicated employee helpline is now in place and the company is running an employee assistance programme to help staff facing redundancy find other jobs.

Lee Manning, Matthew David Smith and Neville Kahn, partners at Deloitte, were appointed joint administrators for the firm last Wednesday.

Mr Manning said: “Having reviewed the portfolio with management, the store closure plan is an inevitable consequence of having to restructure the company to a profitable core which is capable of being sold.

“We would like to thank the company’s employees for their support and professionalism during this difficult time.

“We are also grateful to the customers for their continued support.”