Shoppers wearing masks because of the coronavirus pandemic stroll by the World of Disney store at the Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/John Raoux

Disney closing at least a dozen stores in Canada amid e-commerce push

Disney closing at least a dozen stores in Canada amid e-commerce push

Walt Disney Co. is expected to close most of its Canadian stores this summer as part of the company’s broader plan to focus on its e-commerce business and reduce its brick-and-mortar footprint.

The mass media and entertainment conglomerate says it’s closing at least 60 stores across North America, including most of its locations in Canada.

The Disney Store, a chain of specialty stores selling Disney-themed toys, costumes and other items, currently has 16 locations in Canada listed on its website.

According to the store locator, three locations in British Columbia are already permanently closed, while four stores in Alberta, one in Manitoba, and four in Ontario are slated to close on or before Aug. 18.

Two Ontario stores continued to be listed as open, while the remaining two locations in that province are outlets that continue to be open.

Stephanie Young, Disney’s president of consumer products, games and publishing, says the pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer while shifting more shopping online.

The company plans to create a more “flexible, interconnected e-commerce experience,” she said in a statement earlier this year.

Retail analyst Bruce Winder says Disney has likely found more efficient ways to drive its brand and merchandise.

He says he expects the company will eventually connect its e-commerce platform shopDisney to its subscription streaming service Disney+.

The closure of Disney stores in Canada is part of sweeping changes hitting the retail industry and malls, Winder says.

“Malls are going to change considerably in terms of what they do and how they operate and what kind of stores are in there,” he says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Disney