Disney will close 60 North American stores by the end of the year.
The entertainment giant plans to focus on growing e-commerce.
E-commerce has grown industry-wide over the past year as brick and mortar stores struggled.
Disney plans to close 60 stores across North America by the end of 2021 to focus on e-commerce, the company announced Wednesday.
The closures will affect 20% of Disney's 300 global retail stores before it looks at more potential closures, especially in Europe, according to CNBC. Japan and China will not be affected. Disney also acknowledged that this change would lead to layoffs but declined to say how many people will be impacted.
"The global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer. 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," president of consumer products, games, and publishing Stephanie Young said.
Disney will focus on improving its e-commerce offerings, including the ShopDisney website and app, and offer more direct-to-consumer adult apparel, collectibles, and home goods.
"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," Young said.
Disney's move is in line with how other retailers are reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic of the last year. The pandemic made online orders surge, but it wreaked havoc on brick and mortar retailers.
Coresight Research found that major retailers closed 8,741 stores in 2020, and predicts as many as 10,000 will follow this year. Other retailers that didn't close filed for bankruptcy, including J Crew, Nieman Marcus, and JCPenney. At the same time, the shift to e-commerce jumped ahead by as much as five years thanks to the pandemic, according to IBM's US Retail Index.
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