On Wednesday Disney announced that it would be closing at least 60 of its North American Disney Store locations, or over 20% of its brick and mortar Disney Stores. This comes as Disney continues to focus on its online shopping experiences. Disney cited changing consumer habits as the primary reason for the change. The stores will close before the end of the year.
“While consumer behavior has shifted toward online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer,” said Stephanie Young, president of consumer products games and publishing.
The pandemic has accelerated the change of consumer preferences away from traditional physical stores and more towards digital shopping. According to IBM’s U.S. Retail index, the acceleration pushed this trend forward about five years.
Disney expects to close at least 20% of its physical stores and then evaluate any future closures that may take place. While the initial closures are in North America, Disney is also looking towards Europe as a place for more reductions.
At this point, Disney has not provided any financial data about how the closures will impact its bottom line. There will be layoffs connected with the closure of the physical stores though. Disney has not released information on what stores will be closing.
What will not be impacted are Disney’s other shopping experiences. This includes over 600 Disney Parks stores, shop-in-shop locations like at Target, third-party retailers, or lifestyle and outlet locations globally. The partnership with Target that Disney announced at the 2019 D23 Expo has put miniature Disney Stores inside of Target stores. There are now more than 50 of these inside of Target stores.
With the closure of physical Disney Stores, the focus will continue to be on expanding and improving shopDisney. This will lead to more options being offered there. It is expected that Disney will be sharing more details about this online expansion in the future.
What do you think about Disney closing over 20% of its physical Disney Store locations? Is this a good move? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!