“Create magical moments for guests of all ages." — the Disney stores' mission statement
According to Forbes, more than 15,500 businesses shuttered in 2020. Since then, hundreds of businesses have closed their doors, and more than one has given up all of its physical sites.
In March 1987, the first Disney Store opened at the Glendale Galleria in California, offering only Disney items. The retail store in Glendale was the first outside a Disney Park. Hundreds of people turned up on the first day, kicking off a long run of popular Disney Stores worldwide.
By 1997, there were over 600 stores in the United States and eleven other countries, with a high of 747 locations in 1999.
In March 2021, Disney revealed it would close 60 locations in the United States and Canada. By September 15, 2021 only around two dozen Disney stores remained open in the United States. It's also probable that some of their 300 shops worldwide may close.
Check out the Disney Store Locator to learn whether your favorite store is set to close.
COVID Pandemic and Online Shopping
The coronavirus pandemic, which has transformed how Disney views its retail market, is to blame for many of the closures.
“While consumer behavior has shifted toward online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer,” Stephanie Young, Disney’s president of consumer products, games and publishing.
Disney will now be transitioning to online shopping. Guests will continue to have access to Disney shopping experiences at 600+ Disney Parks stores, shop-in-shops, lifestyle and outlet locations, and third-party merchants worldwide.
Williams Sonoma is also introducing a new collection of Disney-themed goods, including kitchenware and snacks.
Keep in mind that you may also still shop for your favorite Disney items on Shop Disney.
Disney Shop in Target
An upside to this is that Target has opened over 160 Disney Shops inside their stores across the country.
Disney products, such as dolls, toys, costumes, and clothes, can be found in the Disney area. Many of these things were previously only available at Disney stores.
The Disney shops are about 750 square feet and located near the kids’ clothing and toy departments in Target.
The mini-stores feature music, interactive displays, picture ops, and a lounging area where guests may view Disney movie clips and play games.
This beloved chain closing was the latest casualty of the rise of e-commerce and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Too many stores are disappearing before we can even blink.
What are your thoughts on closing the Disney stores and the rise of e-commerce in general? Please share them in the comments below.
A version of this article appeared on Medium.