Blockbuster expands in Peru as state clamps down on bootleggers

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LIMA - International Video Marketing of Peru, local operator of the U.S. Blockbuster chain, will open four new shops in Lima this year and is looking to expand beyond Lima in 2000.

Blockbuster currently has eight shops in Lima, but it hasn't opened any stores since 1997. The new stores, the first of which will be opened in March, will be much smaller than existing outlets. The company says its new shops will be modeled on "neighborhood stores," but with all the services and selections of a large Blockbuster. The company estimates that 20 stores in Lima will cover demand.

The company should get a boost from the Peruvian government's effort to wipe out bootleg products, including books, tapes and videos.

Beatriz Boza says the country's consumer protection and intellectual property rights institute, of which she is president, is actively going after both bootleggers and stores that sell or rent fraudulent copies.

``Having stores like Blockbuster in the market is a help because they get people accustomed to the formal market and that the rights of producers need to be respected," Ms. Boza says.

Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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