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Blockbuster UK administrators to shut 129 stores, cut 760 jobs

The logo of a Blockbuster shop is seen in south London January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Paul Hackett
The logo of a Blockbuster shop is seen in south London January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

LONDON (Reuters) - Entertainment retailer Blockbuster UK will shut 129 of its 528 stores and make 760 out of its 4,190 employees redundant, the firm's administrators said on Saturday in the latest bad news for Britain's gloomy high streets.

Blockbuster, which is owned by U.S. satellite TV company Dish Network , went into administration on Wednesday, days after music and DVD retailer HMV did the same.

"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," Blockbuster administrator Lee Manning of Deloitte said in a statement.

The 129 store closures, which will take place gradually over the coming weeks, are in addition to 31 store closures that had already been decided prior to administration, the statement said.

"The joint administrators continue to review the profitability of the store portfolio and announcements of further closures may be made in coming weeks," it said.

Blockbuster is the third casualty in the British retail sector since Christmas, after HMV and camera chain Jessops.

Many specialist retailers are struggling against competition from supermarkets like Tesco , online stores like Amazon and download sites like Apple's iTunes.

British retailers are also suffering from Britain's protracted economic troubles, with little wage growth for consumers whose budgets are being squeezed by government austerity measures.

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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