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South Devon Blockbuster stores among the first round survivors

By Herald Express  |  Posted: January 26, 2013

Blockbuster Paignton

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THREE Blockbuster stores in South Devon have escaped the first round of closures after the national chain went into administration.

But there could be further closures in the 'ongoing review', a spokesman for administrators Deloitte said.

Stores at Market Street in Torquay, Queen Street in Newton Abbot and Torquay Road in Paignton are not listed among 30 stores that have initially been told of closure.

The spokesman said: "There are stores that have been told that they are going to close. No stores have closed yet.

"There is an ongoing review of the portfolio. It is difficult to speculate at the moment and discussions will be happening over the coming weeks."

The potential loss comes as the future of HMV branches continues to be under threat and after the loss of photographic retailer Jessops.

Cllr Darren Cowell, ward councillor for Tormohun, said: "There is a lot of gloom and despondency among traders but that is across the board nationally in the retail sector.

"I would be very concerned if it was just Torquay but that simply isn't the case."

He said that there are a number of opportunities for Torquay at the moment including the Fleet Walk refurbishment and the hotel complex plan for the Pavilion.

He said he was planning an exhibition next month to highlight the prospects for Torquay.

"There is disruption at the moment but you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs," said Cllr Cowell.

"There is some good inward investment and I understand that traders are feeling gloomy but we have to turn every situation into an opportunity."

Bus users and shoppers are being inconvenienced while the work in Fleet Walk is carried out.

All bus services that serve the Strand are being diverted around the seafront. Pimlico is also closed for the next two weeks while Wales and West replace gas mains.

Cllr Robert Excell, Torbay council spokesman for transport, said: "Utility works are a necessary evil and we always aim to get that work completed as soon as possible.

"It is coinciding with the Fleet Walk refurbishment but that is a much bigger animal and that project is in full flight."

John Doherty, owner of Dot's Pantry and Chairman of Torquay Town Centre Bid, said that he had heard no concern from traders in that area of town.

He said there had been talk of removing buses from Fleet Walk and the winter was the best time to experiment.

Mr Doherty said that there was concern about the loss of brands from the high street.

He said: "Any loss is bad news for us because for any business to succeed it relies on footfall."

Sally Henley, Newton Abbot town centre manager praised the excellent team at the Newton Abbot Blockbuster store.

She said: "The administrators will close a tranche of loss-making stores in the initial stages in the hopes that a buyer will be found for the remaining profitable stores. I know that the Newton Abbot branch falls into this last category and so I hope that a buyer recognises a still viable business model and that jobs will be saved and loyal customers will be able to continue to enjoy using our Queen Street Blockbuster."

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  • robocop1982  |  January 26 2013, 3:09PM

    the days of buying digital media in store are being phased out. there is no need for it anymore pretty much. in store movie rentals are no longer often used with everybody being able to purchase movies online. in some ways its a shame as local independent video rental stores dont make any bussiness like they used to before the internet but times change