Bleak week for Sussex jobs

9:38am Thursday 17th January 2013

By John Keenan, business editor

Scores of jobs are at risk after another high street giant fell victim to the internet and the recession. DVD rental firm Blockbuster collapsed into administration yesterday, leaving the axe hanging over more than 100 jobs at the chain’s stores across Sussex.

The news comes in the wake of the collapse of HMV and Jessops which has put more than 200 jobs in the county at risk.

And it was followed by the fall of independent aggregate firm Dudman which called in administrator Grant Thornton. The firm employs 80 staff at its headquarters in Albion Wharf, Southwick. James Stares, one of the joint administrators, said the move was due to “cash flow pressures and the general economic climate”.

Blockbuster has outlets in Hove, Shoreham, Burgess Hill, Peacehaven, Worthing, Haywards Heath, Uckfield, Horsham, Littlehampton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Chichester, Bognor and Crawley. Administrators at Deloitte said the stores will remain open while a buyer is sought for the business.

An employee at the Blockbuster store in Hove, who did not wish to be named, said staff had not been told their jobs were on the line.

Contacted by The Argus, he said: “This is the first we have heard about it. There are six people employed here but we have not been told. The manager is on holiday.”

Tony Mernagh, the executive director at the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said that without an online presence retailers will not survive.

He said: “As a general rule, retailers without a decent online e-commerce presence are sunk. Sooner or later, they will go under - more likely sooner than later.”

Lee Manning, from Deloitte, said: “In recent years Blockbuster has faced increased competition from internet based providers along with the shift to digital streaming of movies and games. The core of the business is still profitable and we will continue to trade as normal in both retail and rental whilst we seek a buyer for all or parts of the business as a going concern.

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