Disney Reimagines Its Stores to Be More Like a Vacation


A redesigned Disney Store in Century City, Calif. Disney’s new stores will have a simplified layout and closer ties to the company’s films, television shows and theme parks.


LOS ANGELES — Quietly, like a mouse on tiptoe, Disney overhauled its retail store at the Northridge Fashion Center mall in late July. Out went the twisty Pixie Path aisles, the ornate displays, the green walls and the color-changing fiberglass trees. In came a movie-theater-size screen, a simplified floor plan, white walls and more items for fashion-conscious adults.

What was Disney up to?

As it turns out, the Disney Store here was a prototype, and the company has been monitoring sales and consumer feedback as it prepares to revamp its 340-store chain.

“We really want to learn as we go, especially through the holidays, so we’re going to roll the new look out slowly,” Paul Gainer, executive vice president for Disney Stores Worldwide, said in an interview on Monday. “So far, we’re really thrilled with the results.”

The redesign makes Disney’s stores a bit more like Disney’s theme parks. For instance, daily parades at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida will be streamed live to those colossal video screens. During the parades, store personnel will put out mats for shoppers to sit on and roll out souvenir carts stocked with cotton candy and light-up Mickey Mouse ears.

The screens could easily be used to stream other events, such as red carpet arrivals for Disney movie premieres. That kind of programming could bolster foot traffic, and thus sales — while also turning the stores into a more potent promotional platform for Disney’s films, television shows and theme parks.

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