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Xtra-vision stores shut in digital bid

Home entertainment group Xtra-vision has closed six stores in recent months and will shutter three more in Dublin as part of its ongoing business review.

It is gearing up a big investment in digital business and negotiations with film studios on rights agreements have been taking place with a view to a Netflix-type offering, but that faces stiff competition from existing online players.

The chain currently has 151 stores, down from 165 in 2011 and employs 1,050 people – 150 less than two years ago.

Its rental stores in Malahide, Donaghmede and Ballybrack are due to shut, the company said, bringing the number of closed stores in the capital to nine since September.

"We're still facing the dual threat of online piracy and the ongoing downturn in consumer spend," Xtra-vision's spokesman said. "Rents continue to be an issue," he added.

One new store will open in Castleisland, Co Cork, and four existing ones will move to bigger premises, in Tralee, Nenagh, Kilkenny and Midleton.

Xtra-vision, which is chaired by financier Peter O'Grady Walshe, emerged from examinership following a commitment of an €8m investment from parent Birchall Investments in 2011.

Last results saw a profit of €300,000, driven mainly by €5m post-examinership rent savings, but sales fell by 8 per cent and revenue by 19 per cent.

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