Burbank, Calif. — Once a shopping mall mainstay, The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) has announced plans to close at least 60 of its brick-and-mortar locations — or 30 percent — in the U.S. and Canada in a bid to shift its focus to e-commerce.
These closures are being described as the “beginning” of the company’s downsizing efforts, according to The New York Times, with a significant number of overseas stores also expected to close in 2021. The specific stores to be closed were not disclosed.
Changing consumer behavior was cited as a catalyst for the announced closures, according to CNBC. The Walt Disney Co. owns and operates 200 Disney Stores in North America, 60 in Europe, 45 in Japan and two in China, according to the company’s annual report for fiscal year 2020.
These closures mark the company’s latest effort in revamping the Disney Store shopping experience. The Walt Disney Co. redesigned a number of stores in 2017 in an attempt to boost business, according to The New York Times, incorporating live video feeds from the company’s theme parks and skewing merchandise away from toys and towards fashion for young adults.
Disney also expanded its merchandising relationship with Target during 2019, announcing the launch of 750-square-foot Disney Stores within select Target locations, which offer specialty merchandise from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars.
ShopDisney, the company’s online store, will expand over the next year and become more integrated with Disney’s theme park applications and social media platforms, according to The New York Times.
The Burbank-based company’s stock price closed at $192.26 per share on Wednesday, March 3, up from $116.45 at the same time last year.
— Katie Sloan