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3 more Blockbuster sites to close

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The Pearl City Blockbuster store, above, is one of three outlets that will close this week after the parent company was purchased in bankruptcy in April by Dish Network Corp. Other stores due to close are in Kaneohe and at the Kamehameha Shopping Center.

The new owner of Blockbuster Inc. is closing three more Oahu stores this week, according to local employees.

Dish Network Corp. will shut down Blockbuster locations in Pearl City at 850 Kamehameha Highway, in Kaneohe at 46-047 Kamehameha Highway and at the Kamehameha Shopping Center at 1620 N. School St.

All three locations were slated to close Wednesday, though an employee at Pearl City said that store will now close Saturday.

Blockbuster spokesman Kelsey Smith said the lease for the stores were not assumed by Dish Network as part of the April 26 asset purchase agreement.

"Employees will be relocated to neighboring stores where applicable and as staffing needs dictate," Smith said.

Dallas-based Blockbuster closed outlets earlier this year in Mililani at 95-221 Kipapa Drive, in Waianae at 86-120 Farrington Highway and in Salt Lake at 848 Ala Lilikoi St. It also shut down a Hawaii island store at 74-5586 Palani Road in Kailua-Kona.

Blockbuster’s remaining stores on Oahu are in Ewa Beach, Kahala, Kailua, Kapiolani, Kapolei, Wahiawa and Waipio.

"As far as total stores in this (lease) situation, we do not have a final number," Smith said. "Dish Network is continually working with landlords on lease negotiations."

The video rental chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, after mounting losses due to increased competition from services such as Netflix and Redbox. The company, established in 1985 by a Dallas software entrepreneur, has lost market share in recent years and put itself up for sale after a failed attempt to reorganize in bankruptcy.

In April the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved the sale of Blockbuster’s assets to Dish Network Corp. for $320.6 million in an auction. At the time, Dish agreed to acquire leases for about 500 Blockbuster stores, ensuring the video giant will continue to have a physical presence in the marketplace.

Blockbuster has shut down more than 1,000 money-losing stores nationwide in the past two years.

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