Video rental boom slows up in '91

December 27, 1991|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

If you sense that you've rented and bought fewer videocassettes during the year, you've got a heap of company. In fact, 1991 is going out as the year the video customer finally slammed on the brakes, much to the consternation of store owners.

Overall videocassette spending (rental and sales) in 1991 is expected to reach $10.5 billion, up $1 billion from 1990. That 10.5 percent increase is no disaster, but it's a far cry from the 30 percent and 40 percent annual increases typical since the mid-1980s.

This year's Top 100 retailers grossed $2.3 billion (32 percent of the business realized by video specialty stores), a number that is virtually unchanged from 1990. The phenomenon of no overall growth is a first in this survey, and a rather sobering outcome in view of the general economic doldrums and home video's presumed cachet of being "recession-proof."

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