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-Disney Echo forum
+--Forum: Disney SouvenEARS, Merchandise and Disneyana
+---Topic: Disney Stores to be sold at auction next year? started by wdtv

Posted by: wdtv on May 11, 2003 1:52 am/pm

I have changed the mailing address on the main page -- < >
Please join if you haven't done so already -- hopefully, it will be a lot more helpful in letting TDS know of the publics complaints/outrage.  And if you haven't written yet, hopefully it will give you more incentive:
Disney Consumer Products
Mr. Andrew Mooney
500 Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA

And please, if you can, inform co-workers, friends, family, etc of this campaign.

Posted by: wdtv on May 16, 2003 12:58 am/pm

< Full Story >

If they close, I say GOOD RIDDANCE!  Either change or close; TDS angers me to no end these days.

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Posted by: sorcererkev on May 16, 2003 6:22 am/pm

I hate to say it, but they have no one to blame for poor sales but themselves.  There is NOTHING in TDS anymore.  It's always the same stuff for kids who are too small too appreciate any of it.  I even settled for just getting pins, snowglobes and plush there, but now they don't even seem to sell pins anymore.  I always thought it was IMPOSSIBLE that my wife and I are possibly the only people over 18 who have been disgusted that there's nothing to buy there anymore.  

I work in retail management myself, so I do feel bad for the cast members who may possibly become unemployed and I'm also sad that Disney is losing money with TDS, but for crying out loud, are they surprised at the lack of sales?  

I love Disney, but TDS lost any and all "Disney Magic" it had about a year ago...

--sorcerer kev

Posted by: wdtv on May 16, 2003 6:42 am/pm

Eisner & Co are clueless!  Period!  It's like "Gee, Tom; we lowered the quality of merchandise, got rid of all Disneyana, thus literally re-writing the Disney principles; so why are the stores failing?"
It's not rocket science.

Why some fans still believe "Everything Disney touches turns to gold" is completely beyond me.

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Posted by: RichKoster on May 22, 2003 8:14 am/pm

Disney closing stores to under 300 in U.S. & Canada

Disney Consumer Products Chairman Andy Mooney says Disney will close more than a fifth of the Disney Stores in North America. He went on to say Disney is preparing the entire chain of stores for a possible sale.

There are currently 387 Disney Stores in North America and he told reporters:
  • they would be reducing that number to less than 300
  • Disney could close down the entire chain
  • and Disney hadn't started talks with any possible buyers.
Mooney said they expected to strike a deal with some company to buy the chain from Disney.

Over in Europe the Disney Store is very profitable and he said that chain could be sold separately from the stores in the U.S. and Canada

Posted by: RichKoster on May 23, 2003 8:28 am/pm

Official Disney Press Release

Disney Exploring Sale of the Disney Stores; Announces Changes in Its Executive Management

BURBANK, Calif., May 22, 2003 -- The Walt Disney Company today announced that it is exploring a range of options for The Disney Store, Inc., including the possible sale of stores in North America and Europe.

"The Walt Disney Company is a global licensing leader committed to the growth of this business," said Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products. "We successfully extended this licensing strategy with the recent sale of the Disney Stores in Japan, and believe this is an attractive option for the Disney Stores in North America and Europe as well."

As The Walt Disney Company prepares for the potential sale of the stores, Peter Whitford, president of the chain, announced his resignation. Mooney will oversee the day-to-day operation of the business on an interim basis.

"Peter has done a very good job of managing the Disney Stores as we've downsized the chain and implemented a new merchandise strategy that is focused on product quality," said Mooney. "We appreciate his work and wish him well in future endeavors."

The chain has been reduced from 522 stores in North America to 387 currently, with a total of 548 worldwide. The process of reducing the number of stores in North America will likely accelerate as a result of preparing the chain for possible sale. The company continues to assess the performance of each store, as well as expiring lease agreements, and will make decisions based upon those factors.

The Disney Store chain in Japan was sold to Oriental Land Co., Ltd., operator of the Tokyo Disney Resort, in 2001.

Source: The Walt Disney Co.

Posted by: RichKoster on May 23, 2003 11:46 am/pm

Yoo Hoo, Disney EchoEars!

Over at < >, their take on this is Disney took a great idea with its Disney Store, made it into a hit, and now just like AOL-Time Warner's Warner Brothers Stores chain, overexpanded too much until it failed.

I feel they certainly oversaturated the market with Disney merchandise, available not only at the Disney Store, but even discount chains like Wal-Mart and K-Mart, online, and of course in the Disney parks (where they should be). Add to this the oversaturation Disney did with its collectibles/Disneyana, and it was easy to see why the downturn happened.

Read the < Disney Kills a Killer Concept > article at < >. (Free registration may be required to view the article.)

Posted by: Tigger58 on May 24, 2003 3:31 am/pm

Disney Stores Could Fetch $495 Million
Penelope Patsuris, 05.23.03, 1:32 PM ET
< >

NEW YORK - Disney's sale of its retail stores in the U.S. and Europe could fetch as much as $495 million--and pay down a nice chunk of its $13 billion debt to help keep its current BBB+ credit rating from slipping further.

Prudential Securities analyst Katherine Styponias bases that valuation on her observation that troubled retail chains are generally valued at between 0.4 and 0.5 times sales, which in Disney's (nyse: DIS - news - people ) case are roughly $1 billion.

Disney officially revealed its plans to sell the ailing chain last night after the market close, but it has been shuttering its stores for some time. Since the late 1990s, the number of Disney store locations worldwide has been reduced to 548 from 740, according to a spokesman. Since late 2001, U.S. store locations have shrunk to 387 from 522.

The chain has been struggling for some time, operating at a slight loss. "This is a way to get rid of a distraction and an irritant," says Sanford Bernstein analyst Tom Wolzien. "They've put a lot effort into this, and it's just not worked."

Styponias estimates that the Disney stores will contribute 42% of the sales at its consumer products division for the 2003 fiscal year, and 3.6% of total revenue. For the quarter ending March 31, the company said the division's sales shrank 14%, to $500 million from $580 million, while operating income plummeted 38% to $53 million from $86 million. Aside from the Disney stores, consumer products also includes licensing revenue from merchandise sold outside those stores and well as the proceeds from sales of products like games.

But a sale of the properties isn't the only option, and it may not even be the best option for the mouse house. Disney has indicated that it would be interested in replicating the licensing agreement it has in Japan with Oriental Land. That company runs Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea Park, as well as 46 stores throughout that country, and pays Disney an undisclosed annual royalty on those sales.

While the store chain hasn't panned out, a Disney spokesman says the company is shifting its retail focus to working directly with stores like Wal-Mart (nyse: WMT - news - people ), Target (nyse: TGT - news - people ) and Toys 'R' Us (nyse: TOY - news - people ). Together they are designing product lines aimed exclusively at each chain's clientele.

Assuming Disney can find any takers in a tough market--AOL Time Warner's (nyse: AOL - news - people ) Warner Bros. unit closed its store chain in 2001 after failing to find a buyer--a Disney Store sale would provide much needed cash. That cash could be especially critical now as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission considers whether to loosen media ownership rules that would permit media giants to buy more media properties.

"With their current debt, they don't have a lot of flexibility to buy anything right now if they wanted to," says Wolzien. On the other hand, he adds, "even if they have to practically give the stores away, they might be better off if they could do a licensing deal and get a recurring revenue stream." Styponias says such an arrangement would provide a "high-margin, low-capital-intensive revenue stream."

Disney hasn't said publicly how much it aims to pare from its debt, but it is clearly making a concerted effort to do so. On May, 15 Disney closed the sale of its World Series-winning Anaheim Angels baseball team to billboard magnate Arturo Moreno for $184 million. Disney is also endeavoring to unload the Mighty Ducks, ironically, as they head for the Stanley Cup.

Posted by: RichKoster on May 31, 2003 1:47 am/pm

Well, apparently Disney has decided to give the new head of Disney Stores (previously the head of the Disney Catalog) 12 to 18 months to turn things around for the better.

Among his plans are selling adult and infant clothes again. Hooray!

If no improvement has taken place by 12-18 months, Disney will look for a buyer again or perhaps close all the U.S. Disney Stores down at that time.

Posted by: RichKoster on May 31, 2003 1:53 am/pm

Seems like the new man in charge of the Disney Store as well as Rasullo in charge of the parks & resorts have come to the conclusion (and rightly so) that they way to do things is to go back to the days of quality entertainment and merchandise for all from back in the heyday of Disney before Pressler's cost-cutting came into effect. In other words, follow the motto of "What Would Walt Do?"

Posted by: RichKoster on July 23, 2003 10:50 am/pm

Disney hires Bear Stearns, Goldman to sell stores

Disney has had casual talks with some potential buyers of all the Disney Stores, but the two investment banks (Bear Stearns & Goldman), hired in the last week, will spearhead the drive to transfer the money-losing division to a company which would pay Disney royalties, a company such as Oriental Land Co.

< Full story. >

Posted by: utilidor27 on July 24, 2003 12:00 am/pm

I must have been oblivious to the news regarding the Disney Stores lately, I did not know they were in such financial straits. Do you know if this means that the remaining stores will no longer be carrying strictly Disney merchandise, and what is going to happen to the Disney merchandise section on the Web?
Posted by: RichKoster on July 24, 2003 12:07 am/pm

All of that depends on if they convince a company like Oriental Land Co. to keep the stores running as they are and just pay Disney a commission (actually, I think Oriental Land Co. should make changes -- based on their Disney parks in Japan I think they could do a much better job with the Disney Store than the current batch of people in charge of them now at Disney).

As to what happens to the Disney Store online -- and the Disney Catalog and Disney outlet stores, too, for that matter -- we'll just have to wait and see.

Posted by: RichKoster on July 24, 2003 9:45 am/pm

For even more details, < here's another news story about this >.
Posted by: goofyestes on Aug. 03, 2003 8:15 am/pm

It made me sad when I found out the Disney had closed a bunch of their stores.  I live in a rural area and had to drive over three hours to the nearest Disney Store.  Now that store is gone.  I hope the catalog will add more things to their store for those of us who are unable to make it to a store.  The selection in the catalog never seems the same as in the store, like some stuffed toys, pins, and clothing.
Niki :unhappy:

Posted by: Goofyteer on Aug. 03, 2003 9:14 am/pm

I agree Niki. If the Disney stores are being downscaled then they need to offer the better stuff in their catalogs too.

But maybe your Disney store is different from mine. For some weird reason mine has had nothing but children's toys in it for quite some time without much variety. I've found it wishing it had some of the stuff in some catalogs! Maybe some offer more than others?

Posted by: Tigger58 on Aug. 03, 2003 9:40 am/pm

The Disney Catalog  offers a LOT more  than any of the stores!   I work for the Catalog!  They closed  our local Disney Store in my area too! But I always shop the  catalog  because it has  much more selection........
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 22, 2003 8:33 am/pm

Disney Stores auction will push into next year

Quick quote:
Disney will have to wait until next year to see if it can sell its retail stores as industry analysts and bankers expressed doubts about whether it will find a buyer for the ailing chain.

Disney first said in May it was exploring options for its mall-based stores, which sell items that feature its world-renowned characters, including Winnie the Pooh T-shirts, Lion King DVDs and Mickey Mouse stuffed animals.

Five months later, there are still no clear signs of a buyer emerging. Gary Foster, a spokesman for Disney's consumer products division, said the company has seen some interest, but it expects the process to last into next year.

The drawn-out sale invited comparisons to AOL Time Warner (TWX) -- as it was known until recently -- which quietly closed its Warner Bros. Studio Stores two years ago after it could not find a buyer for them. Foster said Disney may have to go the same route, or it could keep the stores on a smaller scale.

The Disney brand is generally considered better recognized and more highly valued than that of Warner Bros., but similar problems plague the North American stores and could deter prospective buyers, analysts said. Disney's stores in Europe are profitable.

Both media companies sold hundreds of licenses for their famed characters, flooding the market with merchandise. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) , for example, is Disney's biggest customer and sells some of the same goods cheaper than Disney does at its own stores.

"The stuff is in every store, every discount store and every mass merchant retailer, so it becomes questionable whether a specialty store selling the same merchandise has any real value," said George Whalin, president of Retail Management Consultants in San Marcos, California.

One person close to the process, who asked not to be named, said about 15 to 20 suitors expressed preliminary interest for either the European or U.S. chain, or both, and Disney sent them confidential packages of information about the stores.

Foster declined to discuss specifics, but he said the company cautioned earlier that it could take as long as a year for the auction to run its course.

U.S. retailers tend to avoid making big moves at the end of the year because the November-December shopping season can account for up to 40 percent of annual sales.

Mike Gallant, an analyst at CIBC World Markets, estimated that the chain lost about $50 million on $1.05 billion of sales last year. Disney reports financials for its consumer products unit but does not break out information about the stores.

Disney said in May when it announced its mid-year earnings that the stores have been a drag on the consumer products division because of the soft retail market.

"My contention is that they are going to have to close a great number of these stores or close the thing altogether," said Whalin, the retail consultant. The sentiment was echoed by bankers and analysts who follow the media and retail sectors. (Additional reporting by Peter Henderson in Los Angeles and Emily Kaiser in Chicago)

< Full details. >

Posted by: swall918 on Oct. 23, 2003 8:15 am/pm

I'll miss the Disney Store, but...

-the store near us has really changed over the past year or so; now it's basically kids clothes and stuffed animals. I used to buy snowglobes, figurines, books, teapots, cookie jars....

- the Magic Kingdom/Disney Club will be gone at the end of the year, therefore eliminating the discount

- the CMs are less knowledgeable than they used to be. In the past, even the store CMs were required to attend "Disney University" training.

If they could turn back time and bring back the original Disney Store merchandise and feeling, then it would be worth saving.

Posted by: MKBaughan on Oct. 23, 2003 1:33 am/pm

The first DS in our area closed this summer.... the other two are still operating.... I miss the old merchandise too... My favorite thing was the mug sales... they had such nice mugs... now all I find are toys, and kids clothes and a very few adult clothing of any kind.  I don't know why Disney always wants to take something good, oversturate the market with it, and then have to downsize or cancel it... Anybody else see the WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE connection here?  That show would still be on if the powers that be had not used it as the basis for a whole TV  schedule.
I think Regis was good as the host, and I think he was sort of made the fall guy in a round about way.  Oh, well, I am rambling again      :confused: I hate to see the stores close, but, retail is a risky business... and if you don't keep up with your target customers, it doesn't work.   I love the Disney Channel, but I hate all the new programming... I miss the old VAULT DISNEY stuff late at night...I guess I am just too old to appreciate the shows....I am jumping around and rambling again, aren't I? :blush2:

Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 23, 2003 9:37 am/pm

I don't think you're rambling at all, Marsha... I think you've brought up many good points about ways Disney has taken a good thing and changed it to make it worse.

I'll add another one: Disneyland -- although in this case most of the changes are in the way they haven't kept up old attractions and changed Walt's philosophy of opening up new attractions to keep park Guests coming back for more, as well as exceeding their expectations.

Posted by: MKBaughan on Oct. 23, 2003 10:08 am/pm

I see your point there, Rich...I have only been to DL one time, but I was amazed at the older attractions that were there... (that I didn't get to ride mind you! )  The Storybook boat ride, and Alice in Wonderland (I did ride that one)... I thought they would have some more updated attractions, (like Lion King that was in the MK at WDW at the time).... don't get me wrong, I loved the park... I can't wait to go back in '05 and finally get to see CA... but it is definately a different experience than "the World"....I am not sure it would be as dated if Walt had lived for a while longer....

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