Rogers bails on video store business; rentals suspended, liquidation underway

TORONTO – Rogers (TSX:RCI.B) has officially bailed on the video store business.

In December, the company announced it was shuttering 40 per cent of its video shops as it continued to move away from selling and renting physical copies of DVDs, Blu-rays and video games.

“It’s a declining marketplace, all we’re doing is meeting market need,” Sian Doyle, Rogers’s vice president of retail, said at the time, and added that the disappearance of more than 400 Blockbuster stores last year did little to boost its rental business.

On Tuesday, Rogers confirmed its more than 90 remaining video stores stopped renting movies and games late last week and are now in liquidation mode.

“We’re just refocusing our retail offering and so at those locations we’re going to be investing in infrastructure,” said spokeswoman Leigh-Ann Popek.

“Some stores are going to be repurposed, some are going to be repurposed and/or relocated to better real estate. The plan is we’re going to be opening at least 30 new stores in addition by the end of the year.”

The existing rental outlets will be revamped to serve Rogers’ other businesses, such as TV and wireless services.

As far back as 2005, Rogers had been signalling that its video business was in decline.

And in February, the company reported its video operations lost $23 million in 2011 on revenues of $82 million, which were down 43 per cent from the previous year.

Quebecor still operates a chain of video stores under the Le SuperClub Videotron brand in Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario, and the Jumbo Video name in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island.