Jan 22 (Reuters) - Dish Network Corp plans to close 300 Blockbuster stores in the United States in the coming weeks and could lay off as many as 3,000 employees, a move that comes days after the DVD rental firm's UK unit went into administration.
Dish is trying to shed unprofitable Blockbuster outlets as online retailers like Amazon.Com Inc and download sites like Apple Inc's iTunes eat away at Blockbuster's business model. The potential job cuts represent about 40 percent of Blockbuster's U.S. workforce of 7,300 people.
"We continue to see value in the Blockbuster brand and we will continue to analyze store-level profitability and, as we have in the past, close unprofitable stores," Dish said in a statement. The company did not disclose the locations of the store closings.
Some of the 300 stores are reaching the end of their leases and others are being closed based on overall performance, Dish spokeswoman Danielle Johnson said. The company currently has about 800 stores across the country.
Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite TV company, bought the failed Blockbuster LLC video rental chain in a bankruptcy auction in 2010.
Blockbuster's UK operations went into administration on Jan. 16 and Deloitte was appointed to seek a buyer for all or parts of the business.