Blockbuster Profit Jumps in Fourth Quarter

Blockbuster Inc. (BBI) said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit increased significantly as the video rental company cut costs, offsetting a revenue decline amid a drop-off in rentals and elimination of late fees.

Net income grew to $18 million, or 9 cents per share, from $2.8 million, or 2 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding one-time items, the company reported adjusted net income of $34.2 million, or 17 cents per share, for the latest quarter.

Revenue fell 11 percent to $1.53 billion from $1.72 billion last year, as total worldwide same-store sales fell 10.1 percent because of the elimination of late fees, which accounted for about 13 percent of revenue in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 15 cents per share on revenue of $1.7 billion.

Blockbuster shares rose 13 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $4 in premarket activity.