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Walt Disney Co. announced Wednesday it will close at least 60 Disney Stores throughout North America this year. The company said it would focus more on e-commerce while reducing the number of bricks-and-mortar locations it operates.

During the pandemic, consumers have increasingly shifted to purchasing more goods and services online as governments both in the U.S. and abroad implemented lockdowns in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19. Some major retailers, especially those located in shopping malls, have suffered losses. Meanwhile online retailers, such as Amazon.com Inc. or Target Corp, which has scaled up its e-commerce business, have seen their fortunes soar as consumers became more dependent on online shopping.

The U.S. Dept. of Commerce estimated that total e-commerce sales rose 32.4% to $791.7 billion in 2020 compared with the previous year.

“While consumer behavior has shifted toward online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer," said Stephanie Young, president of Disney’s consumer products games and publishing.

Each of the Disney Stores slated to close experienced interruptions due to lockdowns, according to a Disney spokesperson. The company said it has about 300 stores world-wide but wouldn’t disclose how many it owns in North America. With Disney’s theme parks encountering disruptions and closures during the pandemic, sales of its merchandise at those locations have also suffered.

Disney said that over the next year it would aim to improve its e-commerce platform and more fully integrate its online shopping experience with its Disney Parks mobile apps and social media. The company also said it plans to broaden its merchandise line with more emphasis on products that might appeal to adults, including apparel, streetwear, home products and collectibles.

Disney has also expanded the company’s digital footprint abroad. In Nov. 2020 the company launched online stores in India, New Zealand and Australia.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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