Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Disney Stores to Become "Imagination Park"?

News about the major overhaul of the Disney Stores is causing me to be very giddy!

At a time when many retailers are still cutting back or approaching strategic shifts with extreme caution, Disney is going the other way, getting more aggressive and putting into motion an expensive and ambitious floor-to-ceiling reboot of its 340 stores in the United States and Europe — as well as opening new ones, including a potential flagship in Times Square.

Disney Stores, which the media giant is considering rebranding Imagination Park, will become more akin to cozy entertainment hubs. The chain’s traditional approach of displaying row after row of toys and apparel geared to Disney franchises will be given a high-tech makeover and incorporated into a new array of recreational activities. The goal is to make children clamor to visit the stores and stay longer, perhaps bolstering sales as a result. Over the next five years, analysts estimate that Disney will spend about $1 million a store to redecorate, reorganize and install interactive technology.

I hope they keep in mind the adults as well. We all know Walt's philosophy of having a place in which both adults and children can "play". This plan also is consistent with an earlier report that the NY World of Disney might close and be "moved" to some place near Times Square. So far, all we have heard is that it is closing, without any indication that it will re-open elsewhere. Now it is starting to make sense. They will open an entirely new "experience" in Times Square and not just move the World of Disney store.

It is also interesting how much influence Apple and Steve Jobs had, or will have, on the new concept. This might be the clearest signature yet of Jobs' presence on the Disney board.

Again, don't forget the adults, people! We are the ones with money, not the kids!


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