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Morrisons buys 49 Blockbuster stores


Stores to be converted to local convenience outlets

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Supermarket chain Morrisons is to buy 49 UK stores from video rental outfit Blockbuster which went into administration last month.

At the time, administrators Deloitte announced the gradual closure of all of its 164 stores. In subsequent weeks, since a buyer was not found for the business, its US-based owner – the Dish Network – announced that it would be taking a US$46 million write-down on the business.

The sale forms part of liquidation proceedings. A spokesperson for Morrisons said, the properties would be converted into "Morrisons M" local shops scheduled for opening by late summer, creating 1,000 jobs.

The spokesperson stressed that even though Morrisons had not made any formal commitment to retain Blockbusters staff, it "would be delighted if they wanted to apply for jobs at the new stores".

The purchase price of the 49 stores has not been revealed. Deloitte said that the sale of Blockbuster stores to Morrisons was expected to be the "first of a number of group and individual sales" that it would announce, but gave no further details.

Morrisons has previously said it was targeting the opening up of 70 convenience stores by the end of 2013, mainly in the Greater London area.

To this effect, the supermarket group has already acquired seven stores from failed photographic equipment retailer Jessops, and is in the process of rebranding 12 "M Local" stores that it already owns. Morrisons has also acquired a distribution centre in Feltham, London while an online delivery service is expected to be unveiled next month.

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Morrisons buys 49 Blockbuster stores
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