Hollywood Video calls it a wrap; last day to rent movies is April 12


March 22, 2010 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated March 21, 2010 at 10:22 p.m.

From the bright yellow "store closing" sign blowing in the wind to the red, black and yellow "everything must go!" sign perched in the window, the message was clear at Victoria's Hollywood Video: The shop's days are numbered.

The last of the company's Victoria sites, located at 1505 E. Rio Grande St., will soon close its doors. The city's other location, formerly on Navarro Street, closed in October 2007.

But the latest closure isn't alone. It's among about 760 stores closing nationwide as Movie Gallery Inc. restructures its business.

On Feb. 3, Movie Gallery, which includes Hollywood Video, Game Crazy and Movie Gallery stores, announced it was filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to a company news release. The company noted "economic and competitive realities facing its business" in the filings, according to the release.

"Over the past two years, Movie Gallery took a number of steps to respond to its business challenges and position the company for future success, including closing several hundred underperforming stores across the country," the release said. "However, these actions were not sufficient."

On Monday, everything inside the local store was marked down between 20 and 40 percent off. Although no exact close date is set, the last day to rent movies is April 12.

Other similar rental companies are likely to close in the future as the rental world changes, said Wade Holden, an analyst with SNL Kagan.

People are shifting toward more convenient options, such as Netflix and Redbox kiosks, that eliminate the need to go to a video store, as well as the threat that the sought-after movie might not be in stock, he said.

"It's definitely a lot easier," Holden said of the new options. "There are people who go to the grocery store a few times a week anyway, and to have a kiosk there as they're leaving is far more convenient."

Video on demand options are also growing, he added. These options allow people to select and play movies instantly from their living rooms.

Suddenlink announced its Video on Demand services in early March for the Crossroads. The company offers movies, sports, news and other television options, according to a company news release. More than one-third of those options are free.

The movie rental world might look dramatically different five years down the road, but the changes are exciting, Holden said.

"It's just a really interesting time for home video," he said.

Local Hollywood Video employees deferred comment regarding the close to the corporate office.

Calls to Movie Gallery were not immediately returned on Monday.



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