At this point, it’s essentially common knowledge that former movie-rental giant Blockbuster has all but lost its fight. As you may have noticed here in the U.K., the company shut down its remaining stores by the end of this past December. There were a total of 808 employees impacted by the closure of the 91 locations, with administrators stating their regret over the news. While they attempted to find a buyer who could keep the shops open, it just didn’t work out for them.
The major reason for the downfall of Blockbuster is the advent of streaming movie/television services. While the company itself tried to keep up on some level, they simply couldn’t compete with Hulu, Netflix, Picturebox, and others in this realm. In fact, what’s craziest about this part of the story is that Blockbuster once had the chance to purchase one of those companies. Business Insider notes that back in 2000, Netflix was losing money and its CEO, Reed Hastings, tried selling 49 percent of his business to Blockbuster, who promptly turned it down.
Blockbuster Is Down, But Not Out
All that being said, Blockbuster is finding new legs in a place where you may least expect it. According to Bloomberg, the company is living on in the country of Mexico as an upscale chain. The thing is, they won’t just be renting out movies and video games. The plan is to apparently “sell everything from televisions to banking services.” In other words, it’s moving into the catch-all territory of the department store variety.
And anyone doubting their ability to do well in Mexico should know that the company is seen differently there. As reported in that same Bloomberg article, their stores are often found in the wealthier communities. As a result, it’s seen as something of a luxury rather than the dinosaur-like status in the U.K. and U.S. Depending on how it does when branching out into new retail territory, though, will be interesting to watch moving deeper into 2014.