According to CNBC, The Walt Disney Company is closing at least 20% of its brick-and-mortar stores by the end of the year, as its focus shifts more and more towards e-commerce. At least 60 out of 300 Disney Stores will be closing across North America, and then an evaluation on whether to extend these closings to other parts of the world will begin.
The company plans to further utilize its popular shopDisney website and will be adding more “adult apparel collections, streetwear, premium home products, and collectibles” to the online store in the coming months.
Stephanie Young, president of consumer products, games, and publishing states, “While consumer behavior has shifted toward online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer.” As the COVID-19 pandemic created a massive increase in demand for online shopping, this does not come as a surprise.
The pandemic alone changed shopping habits so drastically, that the demand for e-commerce jumped ahead by about five years. E-commerce sales increased by 32.4%, up to $791.7 billion, in 2020, and that number continues to grow.
While North America will be the first continent to see mass Disney Store closures, Disney officials state that after the effects of these closures are evaluated, Europe would likely be the next target. In the meantime, Disney plans to continue updating and improving its popular shopDisney site, and will add a larger selection of merchandise to appeal to a wider audience.
The Walt Disney Company has not yet made a statement on the impact of job losses due to the store closings.