Disney will close more than 60 outlets in North America this year

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) will close at least 60 Disney retail stores in North America before the end of this year, according to a CNBC report. Store closures represent 20% of the company’s global footprint.

What happened: Disney reportedly said it was closing stores as part of its efforts to focus more on e-commerce. However, the company did not provide details on the number of job cuts or the financial impact of the closures.

Disney is also considering a significant reduction in its number of stores in Europe, while its stores in Japan and China will not be impacted. The company has 300 stores worldwide.

See also: How to buy Disney stock

“As consumer behavior has shifted towards online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer,” said Stephanie Young, president of consumer products, gaming and Disney edition.

Additionally, Disney said it will overhaul its shopDisney apps and websites over the next year, Reuters reported. The company will also continue to operate its outlets in other retail stores like Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and stores inside Disney parks.

See also: Disney stock hits record high amid vaccine rollout, star-studded debut

Why is this important: The Disney store closures come as consumers increasingly shift away from physical stores for digital purchases. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the change and forced several retailers to close their physical stores.

Since the start of the pandemic, Disney has had to close its 12 theme parks around the world. Parks remain either closed or open with limited capacity. The company also laid off around 32,000 employees.

Disney has made its website more user-friendly to reduce reliance on its physical stores. The website now includes products from Disney, Marvel and Star Wars brands.

Disney is also focusing more on the Disney+ streaming service, which, along with Netflix, has emerged as a big winner amid the pandemic.

Price movement: Disney shares closed nearly 0.9% lower on Wednesday at $192.26.

Also read: Disney+ Subscriptions Rise Beyond Expectations, Thanks to Adults Without Kids at Home: CE

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