The Walt Disney Company is set to open a new store in the renovated Santa Monica Place that utilizes the latest technology picked from the brain of Steve Jobs himself. The Apple tycoon is helping reboot and open 340 Disney retailers in the United States and Europe.
The concept stores integrate the latest technology to entertain shoppers and create the store around a “child’s perspective.” Computer chips in packaging with activate features throughout the store, including a “magic mirror” where characters appear to speak to customers clutching merchandise. Theaters will show film clips that can be selected by viewers or chat live with Disney stars by satellite.
The new store will be part of the grand opening of Santa Monica Place, which plans to open in August 6 near the Third Street Promenade.
“We have infused Disney magic into all elements of this one-of-a-kind retail experience, and have selected prime retail centers to launch the Disney Store of the future,” said Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide.
Disney Store opened its first store in Glendale in 1987 to great success, expanding to more than 600 locations. By 2002 the chain was losing $100 million a year. Disney then sold to Children’s Place Retail stores in 2004, who failed to meet contractual renovation obligations.
By 2008, Disney bought back part of the chain and closed about 100 locations. There are currently more than 200 Disney Store locations in North America. With each new store opening in 2010, Disney Store will designate a day for 10 percent of the sales to be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the U.S.
Santa Monica Mirrorchris@smmirror.com