Blockbuster to close all stores nationwide

Blockbuster, once the ubiquitous king of the video rental business, will close its remaining national stores in early January, the company’s owner DISH Network announced Wednesday.

The end of an era comes as consumers increasingly move away from renting physical discs to online downloads, DISH said. The company said it would shutter about 300 stores nationwide as well as end its DVD by mail operations. A web search found about three Blockbuster stores in operation in metro Atlanta.

“This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,”Joseph Clayton, DISH’s president and chief executive officer, said in a release. “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.”

Blockbuster and its blue ticket stub logo were a familiar part of the American landscape for more than a generation. But competitors such as Netflix chipped away at its prominence, first through video-by-mail operations and then by streaming movies and TV shows directly to computers, DVD/blu-ray players and televisions.