The Burbank entertainment and media giant said the closures are the “beginning” of an effort to downsize its brick-and-mortar presence and shift its focus towards online retail channels – not even Mickey Mouse is immune to the e-commerce revolution.
Stephanie Young, Disney’s president of consumer products, games and publishing, explained in a statement the COVID-19 pandemic has changed what consumers expect from retailers and has accelerated online shopping’s takeover of the sector.
“Over the past few years, we’ve been focused on meeting consumers where they are already spending their time, such as the expansion of Disney store shop-in-shops around the world. We now plan to create a more flexible, interconnected e-commerce experience that gives consumers easy access to unique, high-quality products across all our franchises,” she said.
The company didn’t disclose which locations will close, nor did it say how many employees would be affected by the changes. The New York Times reported a significant number of overseas stores are also expected to close in the coming year.
The Disney Store chain launched in 1987. It grew to more than 1,000 locations worldwide at one point, including locations inside theme parks, but has since shrunk to around 300. The stores struggled to perform well as the pandemic restricted retail activity.
Shares of Disney (DIS) closed Thursday down $4.23, or about 2 percent, to $188.03 on the New York Stock Exchange.