Katie Collins/PA Wire
Blockbuster, the DVD and games rental company, has announced that it has gone into administration. It's another sad day for the high street, as 528 more shops are under threat - along with 4,190 jobs. It's a worrying time for staff, and for high street traders nationwide suddenly faced with the prospect of trading in a ghost town.
But what does it mean for you?
The company has been put in the hands of Deloitte as administrators. It made an announcement, which offers some hope for staff.
Lee Manning from Deloitte said in the statement: "We are working closely with suppliers and employees to ensure the business has the best possible platform to secure a sale, preserve jobs and generate as much value as possible for all creditors. The core of the business is still profitable and we will continue to trade as normal in both retail and rental whilst we seek a buyer for all or parts of the business as a going concern."
Manning also had good news for consumers. He said: "During this time gift cards and credit acquired through Blockbuster's trade-in scheme will be honoured towards the purchase of goods." It means that as long as you don't delay, you should be able to use up any credit you have with the business.
The long-term future is less certain for the stores. Manning explained the source of the company's woes, saying: "In recent years Blockbuster has faced increased competition from, internet based providers along with the shift to digital streaming of movies and games."
The problem is that this competition isn't going anywhere fast. If you can stream movies on demand at a lower cost - with no limit on the number available at any one time, then it begs the question of why anyone would bother popping down to the high street for an expensive rental.
The video rental market is shrinking in the UK. The British Film Industry figures show that the rental market was down to £246 million in 2011, from £253 million in 2010. Meanwhile the proportion of film downloaded on demand has grown to 5.5% of all films watched - which dwarfs the 3.4% seen at the cinema.
The change seems to come as no surprise for many, with Twitter dominated by those who were waiting for this particular shoe to drop. @mattsrc commented: "#Blockbuster was still a thing? There's no place for that sort of store nowadays with digital outlets such as Netflix being so much better."
@elmoir added: "Wait, people still went to Blockbuster?! Amazed it lasted till now." And @JonHornbuckle pointed out:"Surprised Blockbuster lasted so long. Charging £4 for one night when Tesco sell some chart DVDs for only a little more and you own forever."
Who is next?
The demise of the firm, hard on the heels of the death of HMV, is a telling sign of how the internet is killing off high street stalwarts. The question on everyone's lips is how they failed to see the threat coming, and how - given their huge head-start in terms of brand recognition - they failed to position themselves at the forefront of developments.
If we can't answer this, then the future for the whole British high street would seem to be under threat, and Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster could just be the first of a raft of high profile corporate deaths in 2013.
But what do you think? Will the internet kill the high street, or can UK retailers offer something we can't get online? Let us know in the comments.
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Despite recruiting famous yummy mummy, Mylene Class, to front the opening, and launching Jools Oliver's Little Bird collection in stores last week, City pundits warn it could be a case of too little too late.</p>
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Its contemporary format includes new fixtures and fittings and easier to navigate stores, and will be rolled out to all 400 UK stores at the cost of £16million. Bosses aim to bring the brand back to profit within two years.</p>
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