Disney has announced plans to significantly reduce its brick-and-mortar footprint, beginning with the closure of at least 60 Disney Stores across North America as the retailer bolsters its ecommerce operation.
The company currently operates approximately 300 Disney Stores worldwide; Disney has not yet shared which locations will be impacted. The closures are the first step in a total re-evaluation of the retailer’s global brick-and-mortar footprint. Additional closures, particularly in Europe, are likely, according to CNBC.
Disney, like many other retailers, said it will be shifting its focus to ecommerce over the next year, building out a “more seamless, personalized and franchise-focused” experience on its shopDisney platform. The shift toward digital will also include greater integration with the Disney Parks apps and social media platforms.
At the same time, the company said it was planning to add an assortment of “new and elevated” merchandise from its full range of brands, including adult apparel collections and artist collaborations, trend-forward streetwear, premium home products and collectibles.
“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 at Disney in a statement. “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 ecommerce experience that gives consumers easy access to unique, high-quality products across all our franchises.”
Disney had a bit of wild ride last year. Its theme parks and cruise business were both hard hit by the pandemic, but subscriptions to its new streaming service Disney+ soared. Revenue declined 22% in calendar Q4, to $16.25 billion from $20.88 billion during the same period the previous year. The company attributed the drop to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on its Parks, Experiences and Products segment.