Disney to Close Up to 60 Stores, Shift Focus to E-Commerce
Disney said earlier this week that it will close 20 percent of its brick-and-mortar store locations before the end of the year as part of a bigger focus on its e-commerce business. At least 60 of its North American locations will close, the company said, citing changing consumer behaviors and a desire to link its online shopping experience to its Disney Parks apps and social media platforms. There are about 300 Disney Stores worldwide. Disney noted that there will be an undisclosed number of layoffs that coincide with the stores closing.
Total Retail's Take: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many retailers and brands to examine the future role of brick-and-mortar stores in their organization. Given the surge in online shopping we've seen in the last 12 months, which many analysts believe will become long-term behavior, retailers are looking to invest further into their digital experiences, with physical stores serving to support that channel in a variety of ways (BOPIS, curbside pickup, dark stores, ship from store, BORIS). In the case of Disney, the company plans to broaden its product assortment on its ShopDisney website to appeal to adult as well as kids' shoppers. Despite this most recent announcement, Disney is by no means abandoning physical retail, a smart move for such an experiential brand. In addition to its own stores, more than 600 Disney Parks stores, shop-in-shop locations in stores like Target, lifestyle and outlet locations, and third-party retailers around the world will not be impacted.