Dallas -- A Wall Street Journal report on Monday said that, according to court filings, Blockbuster will start closing 186 more stores by the end of the month, bringing the number of its U.S. locations closed or slated for closure to 1,145, or more than a third of its total, since the video-rental chain filed for bankruptcy protection in September.
In filings Friday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, Blockbuster said it will reject the leases on 186 of its stores by March 31.
Among the markets that will be most affected are California and Texas, which each face double-digit store closings.
In February, the bankruptcy court approved procedures for the auction of Blockbuster, with an initial $290 million stalking-horse offer from a group of senior bondholders led by New York-based hedge fund Monarch Alternative Capital. The ruling staved off the threat of immediate liquidation of Blockbuster's assets.
Blockbuster will use proceeds from the sale, whether it is to the Monarch group or a higher bidder, to pay its debt to movie studios. The studios have agreed to continue shipping DVDs to Blockbuster stores.