B'buster better than expected

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Blockbuster pared its losses in the third quarter and posted financial results that beat some Wall Street estimates — news that had the already decimated stock rising Thursday in after-hours trading.

The nation's largest movie-rental firm said it lost $20.6 million, an improvement from last year's quarterly loss of $37.2 million. Revenue fell almost 3% to $1.2 billion.

Blockbuster managed its third straight quarter of same-store sales increases in the U.S., this time improving them by 5%. Doing the heavy lifting was merchandise sales like video game hardware and software.

Internationally, however, same-store fell 3.4%.

CEO Jim Keyes praised the results, "particularly in light of the unusually limited slate of movie titles and strong viewership of the Olympics during the period."

The company also said that a new bank credit facility for early next year has been scrapped. "The current state of the banking and overall credit environment certainly muddles the outlook for that," CFO Tom Casey said.

Blockbuster shares, pummeled for 66% so far this year, were as much as 5% higher in after-hours trading Thursday. (partialdiff)
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