By James O'Brien
The crisis on the UK's high streets intensified as Blockbuster joined the growing list of established companies in administration, leaving its 4,190 staff uncertain about their futures.
The firm ultimately lost its battle with online retailers like Netflix and LoveFilm, which allow consumers to watch films, play games and listen to music without leaving the house.
Since the collapse of Woolworths in 2008, the economic crisis and the rise of the internet have combined to take a number of high-profile casualties.
In recent months, electronics giant Comet went under after administrator Deloitte failed to find a buyer. The demise of the firm resulted in 6,900 people losing their jobs.
Sports retailer JJB Sports also entered administration last year, while retail chain Blacks was rescued by JD Sports Fashion for £20 million and 388 of around 600 stores were salvaged as budget fashion chain Peacocks struck a deal with Edinburgh Woollen Mill.
Gift retailer Past Times ended its association with the high street at the beginning of 2012. The start of this year has been even worse for the industry. Camera retailer Jessops closed its doors last week and music store HMV entered administration on Monday.
Recent statistics from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed more than one in 10 high street stores were empty in October 2012. It commented that the UK town centre vacancy rate of 11.3 per cent was the lowest figure since its survey launched in July 2011. Northern Ireland, Wales and the North and Yorkshire region were the worst hit as they saw record numbers of empty shops.
While competition from internet retailers and supermarkets hurt chains like HMV and Comet, the pressure of rising energy bills and fuel costs also took its toll as households become more frugal.
The drop in first-time home buyers hit Comet hard. People new to the housing market had been important customers for the electricals firm during its successful years.
Meanwhile, a more cautious approach by banks over debt-for-equity deals in the aftermath of the financial crisis has seen many companies left with debt from past private equity takeovers fail despite healthy trading.