Disney stores closing – The Disney Store is significantly reducing the number of its outlets in the United States and Canada. The store was once a mainstay in malls. Disney announced that at least 60 of its locations in North America would be shut down in 2021, or around 35% of its total places there. Moving forward, Disney is putting more of a focus on its online store than its physical presence.
According to Stephanie Young, president of Disney’s consumer products, games, and publishing segment, “Consumers’ expectations from a retailer have changed even though consumer behaviour has shifted toward online shopping.”
By 1997, there were more than 600 sites in the United States and eleven other nations, with a peak of 747 locations in 1999. Only about 20 Disney stores will still be operational in the U.S. by September 15, 2021. The store closure announcement marks the end of an era for Disney store enthusiasts.
But it opens the door to a new chapter in the company’s retail strategy. In this article, let us explore the reasons behind these closures and the exciting future that Disney has in store for its devoted fans.
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Disney’s Store Closure Strategy
The Disney Store is a network of specialized shops that only sell Disney-related goods. Many of them are exclusive and run under the Disney Outlet brand. It was a division of Disney Consumer Products inside The Walt Disney Company’s Parks, Experiences, and Products segment. The first “retail-tainment” store, or entertainment retailer, was the Disney Store.
On March 3, 2021, Disney announced that it would be closing 20% of its physical Disney Store locations by the end of the year. It was planned in order to put more focus on its e-commerce operations.
The firm said that it would close at least 60 of its North American sites. It cited shifting consumer habits and a desire to combine its online purchasing platform with its Disney Parks apps and social media platforms. In total, there were around 300 Disney stores at that time.
Stephanie Young is the president of consumer products, games, and publishing. He stated that” consumer behaviour has evolved in favour of online purchasing. But the worldwide pandemic has altered what consumers expect from a business.”
According to information from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index, the pandemic has sped up the transition from shopping in physical stores to online retailers by about five years. E-commerce sales across the industry increased 32.4% in 2020 to reach $791.7 billion, and that rate is expected only to rise.
As a starting point, Disney intended to close one-fifth of the footprint of its Disney Stores. After that, the company would assess if any extra closures were necessary. The company considered making significant cuts in Europe in particular.
The business declined to share specific financial information about how closing stores would affect its financial performance. However, it did mention that there will be an unspecified number of layoffs associated with the store closings. Disney also opted not to specify which areas would be affected in March 2021.
The business claimed to improve the ShopDisney website. Additionally, it intended to broaden the scope of its product offering. It wants to add adult clothing collections, streetwear, high-end home goods, and collectibles.
Disney Stores offered a carefully picked assortment of children’s clothing, toys, plush, and games. By doing so, Disney will be able to increase its products and appeal to a more extensive clientele online.
Disney Store: “Where Retail Meets Entertainment”
The first Disney Store opened at the Glendale Galleria on March 28, 1987. Just like the Disney parks, it has its roots in California. It was a success, and by the early 1990s, the company had expanded nationally. It opened its first foreign locations in England and Japan.
Aside from the notorious levity of Disney fans, what fueled their appeal was the fact that this was no ordinary storefront with a few Disney items inside. Instead, the Disney store established a brand-new industry of retail entertainment.” It gave customers an experience that went beyond the actual products being purchased.
The shops had eye-catching displays of vast piles of stuffed animals, vibrant entranceways, movie screens playing Disney movies, and T.V. show clips. In many places, there were miniature scenes of Disney characters in statue form. It resembled the World of Disney Store in Disney Springs, except that you could locate it at your local mall.
Such attention is placed on the design and operation of these stores. Thus, it’s no surprise that they were such a success!
Disney Store’s Broad Appeal:
The Disney Store thus succeeded in attracting an array of large audiences. It includes Disney fans and families with children (who were lured in by the famous brand and I.P.). It also attracted regular mall visitors who looked for something entertaining to do in between their shopping visits.
The Disney Store also served as a sort of endless advertisement for the parks. In his book, scholar Alan Bryman stated, “When the idea of a Disney Store came up to Eisner, he liked the idea. It’s because they could promote Disney films and theme parks as well as sell.
merchandise.” To avoid harming sales at the parks’ retail sites, the stores featured separate lines of items from those sold at the parks.
When the business was at its peak, visitors could even buy Disney Parks tickets from their neighbourhood Disney Store!
The Fall of the Disney Store: “High Costs and Changing Times”
What took place to bring down such a cherished store in malls across America? Simply put, they were a result of the factors that made them great in the first place. They were designed and managed with such care. Thus, maintaining them was pretty expensive.
Similar retail entertainment spaces, like the Warner Bros. Studio Store, were unsuccessful because of this. Due to the immense degree of corporate synergy present throughout the business, Disney was the only business that could keep such an idea afloat. Bryman clarifies:
“Few can equal Disney’s synergy, but it has paved the path. Others have attempted it, but they rarely succeeded. Many Warner Bros. Studio Stores and two Hanna-Barbera stores in the Los Angeles area were closed soon after opening in 1990. It shows Disney’s unique status! Yet, by the beginning of 2003, it was evident that the Disney Stores were struggling as well.”
The “Disney Renaissance” of modern classic movies had come to an end by the early 2000s. Because of this and the gradually increasing popularity of online purchasing, the Disney Store’s operations became unsustainable.
Instead of managing them itself, the Walt Disney Company started licensing out the Disney Store to other businesses. It resulted in the closure of hundreds of locations over the following 20 years. The COVID-19 epidemic was the icing on the cake, resulting in the closure of 155 outlets in 2021.
Disney Store Closures: “The End of an Era”
For dozens of Disney Store locations, September 15, 2021, was the last day of business. The Walt Disney Company announced earlier that it would be “significantly reducing” the number of locations it has in North America.
Disney released the following statement at the time of the first announcement in March:
“Today, Disney announced plans to focus on its e-commerce business. It will drastically shrink its physical footprint. We are going to start with the closure of at least 60 stores in North America this year.”
Since then, a large number of Disney stores have closed their doors. It includes those in Europe as well as the United States and Canada. The following Disney Store locations will no longer be accessible to visitors as of September 2021:
- Tempe: Arizona Mills, 5000 Arizona Mills Circle
- Tucson: Tucson Premium Outlets, 6401 W. Marana Center Blvd.
- Brea: Brea Mall, 1065 Brea Mall
- Carlsbad: Carlsbad Premium Outlets, 5610 Paseo Del Norte
- Cerritos: Los Cerritos Shopping Center, 163 Los Cerritos Center
- Concord: Sunvalley Mall, 1 Sunvalley Mall
- Daly City: Serramonte Center, 25 Serramonte Center
- Fresno: Fashion Fair, 587 E. Shaw Ave.
- Gilroy: Gilroy Premium Outlet, 681 Leavesley Road
- Lakewood: Lakewood Center, 88 Lakewood Center Mall
- Los Angeles: Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
- Modesto: Vintage Faire, 3401 Dale Road
- National City: Westfield Plaza Bonita, 3030 Plaza Bonita Road
- San Francisco: Stockton Street, 39 Stockton St.
- Santa Clara: Westfield Valley Fair, 2855 Stevens Creek Boulevard
- Sherman Oaks: Westfield Fashion Square, 14006 Riverside Drive
- Thousand Oaks: The Oaks, 350 West Hillcrest Drive
- Torrance: Del Amo Fashion Center, 21712 Hawthorne Blvd.
- Valencia: Valencia Town Center, 24201 West Valencia Blvd.
- Danbury: Danbury Fair, 7 Backus Ave.
- Farmington: Westfarms Mall, 500 Westfarms Mall
- Doral: Miami International Mall, 1455 Northwest 107th Ave.
- Lutz: Tampa Premium Outlets, 2300 Grand Cypress Drive
- Miami: Dadeland Mall, 7527 Dadeland Mall
- Orlando: The Florida Mall, 8001 So. Orange Blossom Trail
- Buford: Mall of Georgia, 3333 Buford Drive
- Aurora: Chicago Premium Outlets, 1650 Premium Outlet Blvd.
- Chicago: North Michigan Avenue, 717 North Michigan Ave. (closing on or before September 1)
- Gurnee: Gurnee Mills, 6170 West Grand Ave.
- Schaumburg: Woodfield Mall, 1600 Golf & Meacham Road
Maryland Disney Store closing
- Clarksburg: Clarksburg Premium Outlets, 22705 Clarksburg Road
- Burlington: Burlington Mall, 75 Middlesex Turnpike
- Wrentham: Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, 1 Premium Outlets Blvd.
- Auburn: Great Lakes Crossing, 4286 Baldwin Road
- Chesterfield: St. Louis Premium Outlets, 18521 Outlet Blvd.
- Las Vegas: Las Vegas South Premium Outlets, 7400 Las Vegas Blvd. South
- Merrimack: Merrimack Premium Outlet, 80 Premium Outlets Blvd.
- Deptford: Deptford Mall, 1750 Deptford Center Road
- Edison: Menlo Park Mall, 55 Parsonage Road
- Jackson: Jackson Premium Outlets, 537 Monmouth Road
- Paramus: Garden State Plaza, 1 Garden State Plaza Blvd.
- Central Valley: Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, 191 Marigold Court
- Elmhurst: Queens Center, 90-15 Queens Boulevard
- Lake Grove: Smith Haven Mall, 313 Smith Haven Mall Road
- Niagara Falls: Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, 1900 Military Road
- Charlotte: SouthPark Mall, 4400 Sharon Road
- Concord: Concord Mills, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
- Limerick: Philadelphia Premium Outlet, 18 West Lightcap Road
- Whitehall: Lehigh Valley Mall, 217 Lehigh Valley Mall
- Nashville: Opry Mills, 433 Opry Mills Drive
- Houston: Houston Galleria, 5015 Westheimer Road
- McAllen: La Plaza Mall, 2200 South 10th St.
- Mercedes: Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets, 5001 East Expressway 83
- Round Rock: Round Rock Premium Outlets, 4401 North Interstate Highway 35
- Salt Lake City: City Creek Center, 51 South Main Street
- Woodbridge: Potomac Mills, 2700 Potomac Mills Circle
- Tukwila: Westfield Southcenter, 536 Southcenter Mall
There are now just 22 Disney Store locations in the United States. Only the flagship location in Times Square in New York City is “full price,” with the other 21 acting as outlets.
Disney’s marketing strategy is mainly centred on ShopDisney. It was once the crown jewel of many a mall but is now a hard-to-find niche outlet. However, those who had a local Disney Store growing up will always remember the wonder it brought to their childhoods.
The Middle East: “An Overlooked Opportunity”
Disney shocked the retail sector two years ago when it revealed that nearly every one of its renowned Disney Stores would be closing. The Middle East, however, stood out as a shining exception to this tendency.
Unexpectedly, Disney had yet to enter the Middle East. It is an area with a significant population of affluent customers and a preference for the brand. Disney had yet to open a single store in the Middle East despite making substantial investments in regions like China and Russia. Even Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, debuted in the area after it did in the U.S. a few years later.
Disney signed a contract in December 2020 to open Disney Stores in the Middle East. Despite the change in Disney’s retail approach, Kuwait-based Alshaya Group, the local operator, continued with the outlets. It increased to 76 outlets in the Middle East by opening Disney Store “shop-in-shops.” They were the locations of renowned retailers like Debenhams and Mothercare.
The icing on the cake was the first standalone Disney Store to open in the Middle East. It happened in Kuwait in November. This 800-square-meter business is housed in one of the biggest malls in the world. It caused a sensation when it opened, luring 1,000 customers. It carried on Disney Stores’ heritage of being wonder-filled spaces by showcasing Disney-themed decorations, unique goods, and an engaging in-store experience.
The Middle East’s Disney Stores are a success, in contrast to other countries that are experiencing closures. The success of the Disney Store concept in the Middle East proved that it was still viable in the proper area. The Middle East’s devotion to Disney, along with the know-how of regional business people like Alshaya Group, made the area a Disney success story.
The Middle East remained a bright spot when Disney’s stores in other parts of the world faced closing. Thus, it demonstrates that the magic of Disney transcends countries and cultures. It offers a shopping experience unlike any other.
Disney Springs: “Addressing Rumors and Embracing Change”
There have recently been whispers and rumours that Disney Springs may be closing. But do not worry; not all of these rumours are accurate. Several of the shops in Disney Springs have indeed closed permanently, but this has changed the area’s landscape.
Over time, it will be crucial to understand that. Sometimes, businesses must make difficult decisions and close their doors. Sadly, a few shops in Disney Springs have decided to close permanently due to difficulties. They will no longer be in operation as a result of this. While
Losing familiar stores might be upsetting, but it also creates an opportunity for new, innovative stores to emerge.
Several factors have led to the recent closure of certain businesses at Disney Springs. We’re still determining why the UGG store shuttered, but it did. Companies occasionally make difficult decisions for internal reasons.
At the end of September 2022, Disney Springs’ Outdoor Mall closed. It’s sad to see it leave, but things change. At times, places must shut down in order for new items to emerge. Due to a change in consumer behaviour, certain Disney stores across the United States and Canada had to close. Online shopping is becoming a more popular alternative to visiting retail stores.
In May 2023, Melissa Shoes permanently closed its doors. It became the third store at Disney Springs to do so recently. It’s crucial to keep in mind that things change and that stores periodically close to make room for new ones.
Do not forget that Disney Springs is constantly evolving and being renovated. Therefore, specific closures may occur as a result of renovations or other changes.
In conclusion, despite some reports that have been spreading, Disney Springs is not closing down. Despite the fact that a few of the stores have been permanently shut down, Disney Springs is still a lively and magical destination to visit.
Store closings are a regular occurrence in business. They provide room for the opening of fresh, innovative shops. New stores are opening, and old ones are closing all the time at Disney Springs.
So, even though some businesses have shut their doors, there are still a ton of places for families to shop, eat, and have fun. Watch out for new companies and activities that Disney Springs will be adding in the future!