Blockbuster Video to close remaining 300 stores, end DVD by mail service

(WJLA) - The once mighty Blockbuster Video empire is downsizing yet again.

The national chain of brick-and-mortar video rental stores that dotted the United States throughout the 1980s and 1990s will shut its remaining 300 retail stores and cease its DVD-by-mail service by early next year, officials announced Tuesday.

Officials say that the move will allow the Colorado-based company to wholly focus on its Blockbuster @Home service, which is run by the company's owner, DISH Network, along with Blockbuster On Demand service.

"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," DISH President and CEO Joseph Clayton said in a statement.

Blockbuster was founded in 1985 and quickly became one of the nation's preeminent movie and video game rental chains. However, with the increasing popularity of streaming options and rental by mail services, Blockbuster has continually downsized and cut back its physical operations over the past several years.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection in September of 2010. At the time, it had more than 3,000 retail stores still in operation.