CNBC reported today that The Walt Disney Company will be closing at least 20% of its brick-and-mortar stores, as it continues to grow its online retail business. At least 60 of the 300 North American Disney Stores will close their doors this year, and the future of Disney Stores across the rest of the world remains uncertain. Although international markets will continue to be evaluated, Disney officials believe Disney stores in Europe will be the next in line to experience possible closures.
There has been no announcement made yet about the number of jobs that will be cut as a result of the shutdown of these 60 Disney Store locations.
The closures signal Disney’s prioritization of its online shopping presence, as it plans to further expand its already highly successful shopDisney website. Additions promised for the online store in the upcoming months include new “adult apparel collections , streetwear, premium home products, and collectibles,” as shopDisney broadens its appeal to capture an even wider audience of online shoppers.
With the massive increase in demand for online shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic also came great changes “in what consumers expect from a retailer,” according to Stephanie Young, President of Consumer Products, Games and Publishing for Disney. Indeed, e-commerce sales increased by 32.4% in 2020, translating to $781.7 billion, or the equivalent of an almost 5-year jump in demand. In the years ahead, these numbers are only predicted to grow, and Disney plans to broaden its selection of online merchandise to meet the ever-evolving and rapidly expanding e-commerce marketplace.