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Report: Dish Network shuttering 500 Blockbuster stores

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — Blockbuster parent Dish Network confirmed Thursday that it will close 500 underperforming Blockbuster video stores in the first quarter, which equates to about a third of its stores.

The company, which acquired Blockbuster in 2011, said it plans to expand Dish Services offerings in the remaining Blockbuster stores. It currently offers the services in 150 stores.

The news comes on the heels of the company’s announcement that profits for the fourth quarter ramped up 24% to $313 million, and it picked up 22,000 net new subscribers in the period. Revenues surged 13% to $3.63 billion, compared with $3.21 billion in the year-ago quarter.

“By introducing new Blockbuster-branded services, we’ve begun to turn the tide in subscriber losses while continuing to face increased competitive pressures,” said president and CEO Joe Clayton.

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Williams-Sonoma debuts new website

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma announced Friday the launch of Cultivate.com, a content site and online resource for kitchen inspiration and design.

The new website provides information about kitchen design and remodeling in one single destination, offering consumers advice from kitchen experts, inspirational photos, recommendations for local kitchen professionals, and unique planning tools.

Part online design magazine, part community networking site, Cultivate.com is focused on providing information and inspiration for kitchen design and remodeling. According to Williams-Sonoma, it is not an e-commerce site and does not sell merchandise.

“Our customers are passionate about their homes, and when we surveyed them about kitchen renovation we heard a common theme – that designing a kitchen can be overwhelming,” said Katherine Rice, VP business development, Williams-Sonoma. “So we created Cultivate.com to offer a resource with an inspirational yet practical point of view, helping make their ideal kitchen a reality.”

The company said that the new site will offer a new social media component that will allow consumers to connect on an even greater scale with the kitchen professionals they admire.

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American Apparel names chief technology officer

BY Staff Writer

Los Angeles — American Apparel appointed Stacey Shulman as chief technology officer effective Feb. 22.

Shulman was previously the company’s VP technology and will have responsibility for American Apparel’s global information and technology operations.

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