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A bounce for B’buster

Small Q3 losses ups vidtailer's stock 10%

Blockbuster stemmed its losses in the latest quarter, and Wall Street showed its appreciation by sending up the stock.

While the homevid chain continues to lose money, it shrunk its losses from $492 million last year to just $25 million in the July-September frame, according to earnings released Thursday.

Third-quarter numbers were better than analysts had forecast, and the stock rose 10%, to $4.39. Stock is up about 20% over the last six weeks but is still short of its 52-week high of just over $5 in July.

Company’s revenue dropped 3%, to $1.33 billion, in the quarter, in part because it had retrenched and shut down several hundred stores worldwide. Same-store sales were actually higher in the U.S. by about 1%.

Homevid retailer was also reveling in its Total Access plan announced Wednesday, which allows online customers to return movies in stores, an advantage that rival Netflix cannot offer.

Blockbuster drew about 7% of its revenues in the quarter from online rentals, a number it is seeking to grow.

Blockbuster news also reverberated to Netflix, whose stock dropped 3% Thursday due to fears of increased competition from Blockbuster.

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