Disney Stores in £300m overhaul

Walt Disney splashes out to freshen up global store image as profits plummet by more than a third

The Walt Disney Company is to spend $500m (&£312m) revamping its 715 retail stores worldwide in an attempt to reverse the profit slump in the company’s consumer products over the past two years.

Fitch and Disney’s in-house design team are working on the new look, with input from local agencies.

The Disney Stores, which are spread across 11countries, including 50 in the UK, range in size from 2,000 sq ft to 40,000 sq ft. Insiders say refurbishment costs could be as high as $750,000 (&£468,000) at some outlets.

Lynn Ferguson, vice-president of design and property development for Disney Stores, says: “We are building a prototype that will be more interactive than our existing stores. The new stores will be fresher, more convenient and provide more information.”

The Disney Stores sit within the company’s consumer products division.

The division reported a 38 per cent slide in operating profits to $102m (&£63.7m) in the three months to September 30, com pared with the same period in 1998. Disney Stores suffered an unspecified decline in sales over the same period.

The new design will be rolled out in the US next year, reaching the UK in 2001. The refurbished stores will also offer a broader range of home accessories.

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