Monday, May 3, 2010

More local movie rental shops to close

The region's already-shrinking roster of video rental outlets is poised to decline even further: The remaining Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video stores are set to close within the next few months.

We last went to the videotape on this subject (er, so to speak) in February, when the chains' parent company, Oregon-based Movie Gallery, filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to close half of its 2,145 U.S. stores. At the time, the company - the nation's second-largest video chain - said it wanted to reorganize and emerge with a smaller base of profitable locations. But the chances of that succeeding seemed questionable at best even then, given the intense competition bricks-and-mortar video stores are facing from the likes of Netflix, Redbox and various streaming services. Indeed, Blockbuster, the nation's largest video chain, is itself wrestling with debt and trying to right its financial ship and broaden its business model. For Movie Gallery, however, it appears the tape has finally run out (ok, yes, I realize they focus on DVDs now, but, work with me on the metaphors here), according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, the company had 22 Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video locations in the Charlotte area, already down from its peak several years ago. Now, only 10 are listed on the company’s website - in Stanley, Dallas, Kannapolis, Kings Mountain, Lincolnton, China Grove, Locust, Maiden, Rockwell and Clover, S.C. Stores contacted Monday said they were closing, but weren’t sure of the exact timeline. Movie Gallery was also in bankruptcy in 2007-08 and shut hundreds of stores then.