Blockbuster to close 182 stores by early 2011

Dallas - Blockbuster said in a Friday filing that it plans to close 182 stores in the next few months as part of the movie rental company’s move to get its business back in shape in bankruptcy court.

Blockbuster, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, has already closed more than 1,000 underperforming stores in the past two years. It had about 3,000 stores when it entered bankruptcy.

Originally, the company planned to keep the stores operating, but analysts anticipated hundreds of stores would eventually shut their doors.    

The company revealed in documents filed in Manhattan bankruptcy court on Friday that it plans to close 72 stores before the end of the year and another 110 stores in the first few months of 2011. The store locations weren't disclosed. 

Blockbuster also said in the documents that it is renegotiating leases on stores it is looking to keep open. 

Blockbuster is expected to emerge from bankruptcy protection later in 2011 under new owners led by billionaire investor Carl Icahn.