The 60 Disney stores represent 20% of the company’s worldwide retail estate, as it switches to a focus on eCommerce.
Disney has announced that it will close at least 60 Disney retail stores in North America this year, about 20% of its worldwide total, as it revamps its digital shopping platforms to focus more on online sales.
The company also is evaluating a significant reduction of stores in Europe, according to a spokesperson, although locations in Japan and China will not be affected. Disney currently operates approximately 300 Disney stores around the globe. It has not been confirmed how many roles will be lost as a result of the closures.
With many consumers moving to digital shopping over physical locations during the global coronavirus pandemic, retailers have accelerated plans to develop their digital offering, welcoming the ability to offer customers a broader selection. For Disney, this will include making a wider range of higher-end products available, from across the Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars brands.
“The global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer,” said Stephanie Young, president of Disney’s consumer products, games and publishing.
Over the past few years, Disney has expanded its shops inside other retailers such as Target in the US and Alshaya Group stores in the Middle East. Those locations will continue to operate, as well as stores inside Disney parks. Disney-licensed products will remain widely available through third-party retailers.
In November, Disney launched digital marketplaces in Australia, New Zealand and India. The company has also revealed plans to overhaul its shopDisney apps and websites worldwide over the next year.
“We now plan to create a more flexible, interconnected ecommerce experience that gives consumers easy access to unique, high-quality products across all our franchises,” added Stephanie Young.