A week ago, my local Disney Store closed it’s doors for good. It was really sad for me to say goodbye to the place I called work for 5 years, and the place I could escape to, where Jacob would smile from cheek to cheek.
We don’t know for sure why The Disney Store was closed in Leicester. We have our own ideas as to why. Some people think it was due to poor sales, because they believe the prices of merchandise was too expensive. Some might think it was a disagreement with the price of rent for the unit. I don’t think we will ever know the real reason.
I don’t believe it had anything to do with poor sales. Disney has been making money in all areas of the company since Frozen. And despite people’s opinion on how much Disney Store merchandise costs, that hasn’t stopped the sales.
When I worked for Disney Store, it was always a scary time when we knew Disney and the shopping centre were discussing contract renewal and rental agreements. Luckily, it was always sorted in the end, and I had my job for a bit longer.
However, recently I have learnt that since I left The Disney Store, over 3 years ago, there has been many Disney Stores that have closed. Now stores closed when I was a cast member, but they were also opening stores. The Disney Store has not opened a brand new store in the UK in 3 years.
And this last Christmas, Disney opened temporary “Pop-Up” stores, just for 12 weeks, to make money over Christmas. As far as I know, this was the first time they had done this, and they were a success, so they will probably appear again this year for Christmas shopping.
But it got me thinking, is The Disney Store deliberately closing down stores, and focusing on their online shoppers, and seasonal shoppers? It makes sense, because it’s only old stores that are being closed. And the cost of opening a new store is over £1m, so pop up stores are more affordable and convenient for the Christmas season.
I have been surprised at how many shops we still do have on our high street and in our shopping malls, because the internet is taking over! Online shopping is so normal now, and yet we are lucky enough to still have the option of “nipping into town”.
However could Disney be getting ahead of what’s inevitably going to happen? Focusing on short term stores that make as much money during high footfall periods, like Christmas, and encouraging sales online with special offers and discount codes you can get on social media.
By keeping a select few stores open, like Oxford Street, or Andale Centre, or Princes Street, they can still claim to be “spreading the magic across the UK” and giving guests that “magical experience”. But ultimately, their big sales are happening online, from those guests who do not have access to a local Disney Store.
If this is what the company is doing, then when it “has” to happen to all other retailers, Disney will be ready and they will have taken the lead. We all know our high streets are suffering in small ways due to the rise in online shopping. We all know that one day in the future, online shopping will be so normal and popular, that the high street will be almost non-existent.
This is what I think anyway. For all I know, Disney could just be being greedy and selfish, and not want to “spread the magic” as much as they say they do because it costs them money.
What do you think? I mean, do you still have your local Disney Store? If so, you’re lucky. Let me know what you think.