Dozens of Disney Stores located in malls across the country are set to closing, beginning this week. The Walt Disney Company announced plans to close at least 60 stores throughout North America by the end of 2021 as it shifts to focus on e-commerce. At least 38 U.S. stores are included in the first round, and they will be closing "on or before" March 23.
Disney announced the shift back on March 3 as part of a new focus on the shopDisney platform. They plan to integrate it with the Disney Parks apps and other social media platforms. "While consumer behavior has shifted toward online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer," Stephanie Young, president, Consumer Products Games, and Publishing, said in a statement at the time. "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."
Checked out the vintage Disney Store in Montclair Mall today. This store was opened in 1987. Tomorrow is the last day before it closes forever! pic.twitter.com/WK0KMDO56I— Attractions 360° (@SoCal360) March 23, 2021
The 60 stores closing represents about one-third of all Disney Stores in North America, notes USA Today. The first wave of closures includes stores in 16 states, including nine in California and seven in Texas. Stores are also closing in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, and Missouri. You can find out if the store closest to you is closing at the ShopDisney.com store locator.
The Disney Store closures are part of a larger issue malls face, as more and more stores plan to close in 2021. Victoria's Secret, Best Buy, Macy's, J.C. Penny, and Bed, Bath & Beyond have all announced plans to close some of their locations this year. Victoria's Secret closed 250 stores in 2020 and plans to close up to 50 in 2021. Its parent company, L Brands, also announced plans to close up to 40 Bath & Body Works stores in malls while opening 49 new locations that are almost entirely "off-mall" locations.