The Disney Store Was a Waste of Money, Report Shows

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Disney Store 90s

Credit: Disney

The Disney Store was not worth the time and money that the Walt Disney Company put into it, a new report shows.

Disney Store Exterior Feature Image
Credit: Walt Disney company

At the retail chain’s height, there were more than 700 Disney Store locations around the world, which offered an innovative experience that merged Disney Park-like attractions and appearances with iconic characters like Goofy and Donald Duck with the ability to sell lots of branded merchandise directly to consumers.

In short, for a while there, it seemed like it was a vertical integration dream in which promotion, content, and retail could all be done in-house.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic woke the Walt Disney Company up out of that dream.

Related: Novelty Merchandise You Didn’t Know You Could Buy at Disney Stores

There Are 21 Disney Store Locations in the U.S.

Tokyo Disney flagship store
Credit: Disney Store Japan

In 2021, Disney announced that it would begin shutting down Disney Store locations en masse, eventually closing all but 21 in America. The New York City location in Times Square is one of the few holdouts in a mass commercial center.

In most other countries, they are completely gone, in large part due to Covid-19 quarantines and changing trends in consumer shopping.

The United Kingdom has one single location left, in London (which seems to have an odd affinity for Disney). However, according to a new report by Forbes, the Disney Store is actually more profitable than ever.

Disney Is Going More Online Than Ever

While there is just one Disney Store in all of the U.K., financial records show that it made $91.9 million (£70.5 million) in 2022, a whopping amount for any retail location.

At the same time, the retail organization as a whole for Europe generated less than half of what it did at its peak in 2014, when it had over 70 retail locations. While “less than half” never sounds great, it is actually extremely impressive when you consider it was largely coming from one store in London.

disney store mall of america
Credit: Disney

What it really means, however, is that the turn to increasing online sales and getting rid of costly brick-and-mortar retail locations is doing great for them. While the gross amount of revenue is not as high as it once was, when you factor out overhead, rent, etc, the company is making hand over fist.

Related: Amazon’s Disney Store is a Hidden Treasure

Disney’s financial statement read, in part:

The company’s continued growth of its online presence and the development of its e-commerce platform will provide a more seamless and personalised guest experience with improved ease of use, access to increased product ranges and an integrated social media experience.

That is quite a bit of word salad, but it ultimately means that Disney knows that the retail-entertainment experiment did not earn them nearly as much money for the cost as simply selling goods online.

While the Disney Store might have been fun for a lot of kids, it simply does not make as much money as a website.

Do you think the Disney Store should come back? Give us your opinion in the comments below!

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