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Sunday, September 5, 2021

Why are the majority of Disney stores closing in the US?

Disney stores have been the retail centres for kids, and sometimes adults alike- a place where one’s childhood dreams get concretized to reality. Even the word ‘Disney’ tugs at a magical cord between every human being who watches or has watched Disney animation while growing up. The perennial popularity of the brand name Disney has led to the opening of several Disney stores in the blink of an eye all over the world. Earlier this year in March, when Disney announced the closing of about 25 % of its physical stores, the entire world could smell trouble in paradise. However, on further investigation, the reality turned out to be slightly different. While most would assume that Disney has incurred a huge loss, as have other companies, owing to the pandemic, the company came clean about the reason behind such massive closures of the Disney stores.

The reason behind shutting Disney Shops

In the context of the post-pandemic era, the world seems to have been sucked into the vortex of digital platforms. Every shopping experience that included casually strolling through the aisles of huge stores seems like a distant memory now. Disney stores had a similar feel where even a visit to the place would make a person reminisce about their childhood fondly. Disney decided to act upon this transition that the world in general, and retail in particular is going through. The company announced the shutting down of 25% of its Disney stores in the month of Marcg because of the increasing shift in consumer behaviour towards e-commerce. Disney never had an e-commerce space in Canada and never did it attempt to own a warehouse for fulfillment of products in terms of ship and store transport or the other way round. The online orders placed by the customers would then incur taxes and shipping fees because of governmental regulations. While everyone doubted the seeds of a liquidation of the company’s assets buried within this sudden move, Disney clarified that the stores within the amusement parks and in-house Target stores would remain untouched. The organisation further announced the opening of about a hundred new Disney shops under Target. The aim of this is for Disney to provide a more personalised, targeted and coherent customer experience, thereby adapting to the changing circumstances globally.

Details about the closures

In the year 2008, The Disney company and co acquired the company initially from Children’s Place Retail Stores Inc.. they acquired as many as two hundred locations which were purchased in the United States and Canada. The company operated under the consumer product division of Disney till 2018 after which the stores were amalgamated under the newer section of Parks, experience and consumer products. This section was previously under the leadership of Bob Chapek. Chapek was elected as the CEO of the Walt Disney Co. in the month of february,2020. Chapek then renamed Josh D’ Amaro in his prior position of chairman of Disney Parks experiences and products. About sixty locations across the US are to be shut down by the 15th of September. When the announcement of Disney stores closing was made, according to calculations, it comprised about 75% of the stores in America itself. People immediately became curious about which Disney stores are closing in California after the first round of closures shut almost a dozen stores. The company was however not allowed to go on record and speak about the closures. The shutting of so many California stores raised a stir amongst the public which the company then needed to address. Later, Disney finally addressed the liquidation of their brick and mortar locations. Questions remain about employees being laid off because the number stands huge. Questions remain regarding the real estates these Disney shops owned as well. The landlords of Canada for example intend on making Disney pay out the remaining part of their lease agreement, whether they intend on keeping their shops running or not. While there were no confirmations on the end of Disney, the company’s website updated their store locator to reveal information about stores before or after the 15th of September. From the information that was gathered, the following list could be compiled about stores to be shut down:

California

  • Brea
  • Cerritos
  • Carlsbad
  • Concord
  • Fresno
  • Daly City
  • Gilroy
  • Los Angeles
  • Lakewood
  • Modesto
  • San Francisco
  • National City
  • Sherman Oaks
  • Santa Clara
  • Thousand Oaks
  • Valencia
  • Torrance

Arizona Stores

  • Tempe
  • Tucson

Florida Stores

  • Orlando
  • Lutz
  • Doral
  • Miami

Connecticut Stores

  • Farmington
  • Danbury

Georgia Store

  • Buford Mall

Maryland  Stores

  • Clarksburg

Illinois Stores

  • Chicago
  • Aurora
  • Schaumburg
  • Gurnee

Virginia Store

  • Woodbridge

Massachusetts Store

  • Wrentham
  • Burlington

Missouri Stores

  • Chesterfield

Michigan Stores

  • Auburn

Nevada Stores

  • Las Vegas

New Jersey Store 

  • Deptford
  • Jackson
  • Paramus
  • Edison

New Hampshire Store

  • Merrimack

New York Stores

  • Elmhurst
  • Central Valley
  • Niagara Falls
  • Lake Grove

Pennsylvania Stores

  • Whitehall
  • Limerick

North Carolina Store

  • Concord
  • Charlotte

Tennessee Store

  • Nashville

Utah Store 

  • Salt Lake City

Texas Stores

  • Round Rock
  • McAllen
  • Houston
  • Mercedes

Washington Store

  • Tukwila

Conclusion:

With the world taking an inward turn towards the digital platforms, this decision of the Disney stores closing does not really come as a huge shock. While it seems only fair and cost-effective on part of the company to curtail establishment expenses, the Disney store seems far more than just the need to buy merchandise. The decision to invest more in its e-commerce section is definitely a progressive leap for the company from a financial point of view. A walk down the Disney store felt like an experience and recreating it digitally would be a challenge for the company. The hope is that this lack of magical experience does not hamper the sales for Disney than what the pandemic already has. However, the announcement about new Target stores seems like a much required relief for the fans of Disney. This would surely redeem some of the hopes and reputation for the brand.


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Josie Patra
Josie Patra is a veteran writer with 21 years of experience. She comes with multiple degrees in literature, computer applications, multimedia design, and management. She delves into a plethora of niches and offers expert guidance on finances, stock market, budgeting, marketing strategies, and such other domains. Josie has also authored books on management, productivity, and digital marketing strategies.

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