Movie Gallery to close more stores in Maine

Posted April 26, 2010, at 11:07 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:30 a.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — Two months after announcing that it would close 15 locations across the state, Movie Gallery Inc., a major DVD rental company, is set to close its Caribou store and possibly its Houlton location.

The Caribou store at 153 Bennett Drive will close in “two or three weeks,” an employee said Monday. A notice on the Movie Gallery website confirms the store is closing and says that sales are being offered storewide.

The company announced in February that it would close the 15 locations as part of a larger plan to shut down approximately 760 locations across the country.

The February announcement said the Maine stores included those in Bangor, Lincoln, Millinocket, Farmington and Waterville. Those stores had been wiped off the map of store locations on the Movie Gallery website on Monday.

The stores typically employ between 10 and 20 workers.

Movie Gallery operates stores in Houlton, Presque Isle and Caribou. At the time of the February announcement, no stores in Aroostook County were included on the list.

An employee at the Movie Gallery store in Houlton, who did not wish to be identified, told the Bangor Daily News that the North Street store would close in “about two months.” The employee said that notice of the closure came late last week and employees were told that the store would not be getting any new releases and that “everything in the store would be sold.”

The company’s website on Monday did not indicate the store was closing.

A manager at the Houlton store said Monday that he could not respond to media inquiries. A call to the media hot line at the company’s corporate headquarters Monday was answered by a machine. A recording said the company does not respond to inquiries regarding store closures.

The status of the Presque Isle store could not be determined Monday. An employee at the store said employees were not allowed to speak to the media.

According to a statement on its website, the Wilsonville, Ore.-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to “economic and competitive realities” facing the business. Those challenges have been plaguing the company for more than two years, according to the statement.

Movie Gallery, which also owns Hollywood Video and Game Crazy stores, is second only to Blockbuster Inc. for movie rental volume in the U.S. A company spokesman told the Bangor Daily News in February that it has been struggling because of stiff competition from the online rental company Netflix and from Redbox, which offers automated service at grocery stores and other retailers.

In 2009, Movie Gallery’s annual revenue dropped about 28 percent. The privately held company also said it owed more than $540 million to lenders and was behind or in default on loan payments.

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