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Blockbuster shows loss

But revenue grows as stores are added

HOLLYWOOD — Video retailer Blockbuster, now a separately traded subsidiary of entertainment conglom Viacom, posted a narrow second-quarter loss as revenue increased amid store expansion and other initiatives.

The Dallas-based company saw red ink of $27.9 million in the second quarter. That compared to a loss of $39.9 million in the same period last year, before Blockbuster was spun off in August 1999.

Quarterly revenue climbed 17% to $1.21 billion.

Blockbuster, which operates 7,300 stores worldwide that rent and sell videocassettes and DVDs, has opened 223 new stores this year. The company also has positioned itself to add video-on-demand services in the near future, with a pay-per-view partnership with satellite-TV service DirecTV set for a fall launch and market trials for Blockbuster’s own broadband video-on-demand service expected by year’s end.

“This was an outstanding quarter,” chairman and CEO John Antioco said. “In addition to achieving strong results in our core rental business, we also made great progress in transitioning Blockbuster from a retail powerhouse to a multichannel provider of home entertainment.”

Blockbuster shares, which set a 52-week high of $11.94, were off 31¢ in midday trading on Wednesday.

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