Apple's Jobs Revamping Disney's Shopping-mall Stores
Steve Jobs, who, with his sale of Pixar to Disney in 2006, became Disney's largest shareholder, is bringing his Apple retailing team to the studio to help it overhaul its 340 Disney Stores, most of which are located in shopping malls in the U.S. and Europe, the New York Times reported today (Tuesday). According to the newspaper, the stores will likely be rebranded Imagination Park and include activities for kids that will make them clamor to stay in the stores, thereby bolstering sales of Disney toys and apparel. Each store will also be outfitted with a "theater" where children can select clips from favorite Disney movies to view. They will be able to chat live via satellite with Disney Channel stars. Even packaging of store-bought items will be overhauled, with computer chips embedded in the packages that will activate "hidden features," the newspaper said. The new look will reportedly be unveiled in May in Southern California, Long Island and Madrid. The Times further noted that "for the first time, Mr. Jobs's fingerprints can be seen on Disney strategy, in the same way that he influenced the look and feel of Apple's own immensely popular retail chain."