OPERATIONS

Blockbuster to close domestic stores, end DVD by mail

BY Dan Berthiaume

Englewood, Colo. — Blockbuster L.L.C., will end its retail and by mail DVD distribution operations by early January 2014. The company will close its approximately 300 remaining U.S.-based retail stores, as well as its distribution centers.

The Blockbuster By Mail service will end mid-December and will serve existing customers until that time. During the past 18 months, Blockbuster has divested itself of assets in the U.S., as well international assets, including operations in the U.K., and Scandinavia. Parent company Dish Network will continue to support Blockbuster’s domestic and international franchise operations, relationships and agreements.

Dish will retain licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand, and key assets, including the company’s significant video library. Dish will focus on delivering the Blockbuster @Home service to Dish customers, and on its transactional streaming service for the general market, Blockbuster On Demand.

"This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment," said Joseph P. Clayton, DISH president and CEO. "Despite our closing of the physical distribution elements of the business, we continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand, and we expect to leverage that brand as we continue to expand our digital offerings."

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OPERATIONS

Holiday shoppers use native apps

BY Dan Berthiaume

Philadelphia – Native apps, or mobile apps developed in the native operating language of a hardware platform, figure prominently in the plans of many holiday shoppers. In a survey of 500 consumers conducted by Artisan Mobile, 80% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed that they are purchasing and browsing products on native apps more than ever before, and 77% intend to make purchases through a mobile and/or tablet app this holiday season.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents expect to make purchases through a mobile and/or tablet app this holiday season, while 88% plan to browse/research products using a mobile or tablet app. Sixty-six percent browsed or made purchases on a mobile or tablet app last holiday season, so there is a significant increase expected this year.

Respondents were asked how much of their holiday shopping this year will include browsing and purchasing on a mobile or tablet app:

  • 27% plan to do between 20-39% of their holiday shopping via an app;
  • 24% plan to do between 40-59% of their holiday shopping via an app; and
  • 20% plan to do between 60-79% of their holiday shopping via an app.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents agree and 25% strongly agree that mobile or tablet apps are a critical way for them to get what they want quickly and easily. Further, 35% of survey participants said that they frequently or always make purchases by other means after browsing products on a mobile or tablet app, while half said they occasionally do, and only 13% said rarely.

Respondents were asked where they make a purchase after they browse a product on a brand’s mobile app but do not make the purchase through the mobile app:

  • 68% use their computer to make the purchase;
  • 55% go to the store to make the purchase; and
  • 35% use their tablet to make the purchase.

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OPERATIONS

Starbucks wants to hire 10K vets, active duty spouses

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Starbucks says it will develop a comprehensive hiring platform for veterans and active duty spouses in response to record growth and in anticipation of a 500,000-person future global workforce. This multi-year hiring and career development strategy will focus on establishing an internal infrastructure dedicated to matching the transferable skill sets of veterans and military spouses with the specific talent needed across the Starbucks enterprise.

It will also build upon and expand the company’s specialized mentoring programs as provided via the Armed Forces Network (AFN) since 2007. Starbucks is also offering a job skills translator for veterans on its website and operating “community stores” in Lakewood, Wash. and San Antonio, sharing a portion of each transaction with non-profit programs Operation GoodJobs and Vested in Vets as part of a commitment to establish five such stores in joint base communities around the country.

“The value we are creating for shareholders is tied to the values that guide us as an organization,” said Howard Schultz, president, chairman and CEO of Starbucks. “As I look at the opportunity ahead of us, we’re going to need to hire men and women with like-minded values and the right job skills in order to continue our current levels of growth. The more than one million transitioning U.S. veterans and almost one and half million military spouses, with their diverse background and experience, share our mission-driven sensibility and work ethic and can build long-term careers at Starbucks as they return home.”

Starbucks currently employs roughly 100,000 people globally.

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