Disney to close at least 60 North American stores and focus on e-commerce

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co. will close at least 60 Disney retail stores in North America this year, about 20% of its global total, while revamping its digital shopping platforms to focus on e-commerce, the company said. Wednesday. .

FILE PHOTO: Customers view “Beauty and the Beast” merchandise at a Disney store in New York City, USA, May 9, 2017. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

The media and entertainment company is also evaluating a significant reduction in stores in Europe, a spokesperson said, adding that locations in Japan and China will not be affected. Disney currently operates approximately 300 Disney stores around the world.

The company did not say how many people would lose their jobs as a result of the closures.

Consumers have been moving toward digital shopping at physical locations, and chains like Walmart Inc and Macy’s Inc have closed physical stores. The global coronavirus pandemic accelerated that change when people were forced to stay home.

“While consumer behavior has shifted to online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer,” said Stephanie Young, president of Disney’s consumer products, games and publications.

In recent years, Disney has expanded its stores within other retailers such as Target in the United States and the Alshaya Group stores in the Middle East. Those locations will continue to operate, as will the stores within the Disney parks. Disney licensed products will also continue to be widely available through third-party retailers.

Disney will review its shopDisney websites and apps over the next year.

“We now plan to create a more flexible and interconnected e-commerce experience that gives consumers easy access to high-quality, unique products across all of our franchises,” Young said.

Digital purchases give Disney the opportunity to offer a much wider selection and include high-end products from all of its Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars brands.

The new products will include adult apparel, artist collaborations, premium home products and collectibles, the company said. He recently unveiled streetwear featuring Grogu, the “Star Wars” character popularly known as Baby Yoda.

In November, Disney launched digital marketplaces in Australia, New Zealand and India.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Rosalba O’Brien


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