The Walt Disney Company are closing their Disney Stores in the United Kingdom with only the flagship Oxford Street store in London remaining open.
The move by Disney Consumer Products to close the UK’s remaining 33 Disney Stores reflects the changing shopping habits of consumers by preferring to shop online rather than visiting bricks and mortar stores.
In a statement released by Disney Stores, a spokesperson said: “We are currently in consultation with an initial group of stores in the UK”.
The news comes just months after Disney announced plans to significantly reduce the number of stores in North America and mainland Europe as part of its new strategy to focus on online sales.
Speaking of the North American store closures earlier this year, Stephanie Young, President of Disney’s Consumer Products, Games and Publishing, said: “The global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer. We now plan to create a more flexible, interconnected eCommerce experience that gives consumers easy access to unique, high-quality products across all our franchises.”
Although there has been no official statement on the UK store closures, the Disney Store website has responded to inquiries suggesting that it may be moving towards partnerships with existing and third party retailers in the future, rather than running standalone stores. “We constantly evaluate our Disney Stores to ensure we’re in the right sites to be able to provide magical experiences for our guests,” reads a comment on the website. “As a result, we are creating new Disney destinations with various retail partners, but we may close some existing stores. You’ll still be able to shop in our other Disney Stores and online.”
The Disney Stores in Watford, Warrington and Aberdeen closed earlier this year, while stores in Bromley and Westfield Stratford closed in June.
Cast Members at other UK Disney Stores have taken to social media to share that they have been given notice and told that their stores will soon be closing.
It is believed that the closure programme will be completed by 21 September 2021.