BLOCKBUSTER HITS FAST FORWARD

LOS ANGELES -- Blockbuster Entertainment Group plans to more than double the number of its stores in the United States within five years, said Gerry Geddis, president and chief operating officer.The division of Viacom, New York, has 3,500 U.S. stores now, and will have more than 4,000 by the end of the year and 8,000 to 9,000 in the next five years, Geddis said, speaking on a panel during a business

LOS ANGELES -- Blockbuster Entertainment Group plans to more than double the number of its stores in the United States within five years, said Gerry Geddis, president and chief operating officer.

The division of Viacom, New York, has 3,500 U.S. stores now, and will have more than 4,000 by the end of the year and 8,000 to 9,000 in the next five years, Geddis said, speaking on a panel during a business session at the Video Software Dealers Association convention here last month.

"We honestly feel there is enough room for 4,000 to 5,000 more locations domestically," said Geddis.

Geddis said Blockbuster does not see other large video specialty chains like Hollywood Entertainment, Portland, Ore., or Movie Gallery, Dothan, Ala., as its primary competition. "When you talk market share, the one thing we have never lost sight of is, this is still a neighborhood business," said Geddis.

"Our competition truly is on the same block and in the same neighborhood as we are. The tougher competition comes from single store owners rather than from the larger chains," he said. "But as far as penetration, there is absolutely room for all of us," said Geddis.