Disney shuttering Lime Ridge Mall store
The Walt Disney Company is shutting down all 18 of its stand-alone retail stores in Canada, including one at Hamilton’s Lime Ridge Mall.
The U.S.-based entertainment and media conglomerate is entirely closing down its brick-and-mortar presence across Canada by the end of the summer — part of a trend accelerated by the shift to online commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The closures come after two Canadian locations had already shuttered in March, when Disney announced at least 60 out of 300 stores would be closing throughout North America, which is 20 per cent of their total storefront operations globally.
Stores have been impacted in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba.
“The global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer,” said Stephanie Young, an executive at Disney, in a statement on Tuesday.
“We’ve been focused on meeting consumers where they are already spending their time, such as the expansion of Disney store shop-in-shops around the world. We now plan to create a more flexible, interconnected e-commerce experience that gives consumers easy access to unique, high-quality products across all our franchises.”
It remains unclear how many jobs will be lost as a result of the closures. Disney would not comment publicly on details about that, or exactly when the stores would be shutting down.
Cadillac Fairview — which housed 11 of the 18 Canadian stores that are closing, including the one in Hamilton— is left with the biggest dent to its malls.
“We were disappointed to learn that Disney will be leaving the centre, as they have been a valued partner,” said CF Polo Park’s general manager in a statement Tuesday.
“As you know, our retail mix is in constant motion. We are working on other exciting opportunities that we look forward to announcing once details are confirmed.”
A senior source at Disney and another at Cadillac Fairview confirmed storefront operations are intended to completely close in Canada by the end of August.
Landlords are now working on exit strategies with individual retail locations to ensure a smooth process for the closures, sources said. Disney is paying out their leases to bypass any litigation and has begun to notify managers at the outlets.
Walt Disney Co. has not announced any intentions to create a specific Canada-geared online store, but the company recently launched digital marketplaces in Australia, New Zealand and India. This means the only way to access goods from the company in this country is by shipping them from the U.S. individually and being charged with higher duties and service taxes.