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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Disney stores lose their magic
Walt Disney has decided to get rid of its loss-making chain of shops.

Disney's consumer products chairman Andy Mooney said that if the company failed to find a buyer all of the North American stores could close.

The European chain is also being put on the market but it is profitable, so should be easier to sell.

In the 1990s Disney stores, selling Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh cuddly toys and other movie spin-offs, were a growing success.

But the group expanded too quickly and after reaching a peak two years ago, the number has been gradually falling as unprofitable sites have been closed.

Last year the chain as a whole lost $50m (30.5m).

Disney juices

Two years ago Disney sold its Japanese stores to Oriental Land, the company that runs the Disney theme parks in Tokyo.

It is hoping to do a similar deal with the rest of its stores.

Retail analysts said potential buyers were scarce, although some said foreign companies looking for a foothold in the United States might be interested.

As its own stores have been declining, Disney has been pursuing a new strategy of developing products for major retailers such as Kmart and Wal-Mart.

It has also revamped its licensing arrangements to produce Disney juices with Coca-Cola and Disney breakfast cereals with Kellogg's.

It has also gone into the consumer electronics business with walkie-talkies and phones made by Motorola and DVD players, TVs and radios made by Memcorp.

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