Mickey Mouse and friends are heading out of the mall.
The Walt Disney Co. revealed plans to accelerate its focus on building its digital retail business amid a plan to “significantly reduce its brick-and-mortar footprint.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the company said that it plans to close at least 60 stores in North America this year as it revamps its shopDisney platform to provide a wider range of products spanning the company’s vast portfolio of intellectual property (IP) and creates a more seamless connection to the Disney Parks apps and social medial channels.
“While consumer behavior has shifted toward online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer,” says Stephanie Young, president, Disney consumer products, games, and publishing. “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 e-commerce experience that gives consumers easy access to unique, high-quality products across all our franchises.”
Despite the fall in foot traffic for Disney’s mall-based stores, its partnership with Target appears to be growing. The company opened 25 Disney Store shop-in-shop locations in 2019 and that footprint has more than doubled over the past year. As of last fall, Disney Store in Target expanded to 53 locations and a digital footprint at target.com.
Disney says that its expanded assortment of new product offerings this year will extend further into the adult market with “new and elevated” merchandise, including apparel collections, artist collaborations, streetwear, premium home products, and collectibles.
No word yet on which Disney Store locations will be closing or the timeline for their liquidation sales.