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Target to open Disney sections in some stores before the holidays

Target is hoping to bring the magic of such characters as Mickey Mouse and Elsa to its own customers by opening permanent Disney sections at a cluster of stores starting this fall. The stores will carry 450 Disney-branded items including toys and clothing, as well as some items that are only available at Disney's own stores.

The Minneapolis-based discounter said it will open 25 Disney-branded stores starting on Oct. 4, with 40 additional locations opening by October 2020.

The first Disney shops will open in Target locations including Philadelphia, Denver and San Jose, California, Target said. Target is also launching a Disney-focused online experience on its site on Sunday. And it's planning a new store near the entrance of the Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.

"This is a great fit for our brand and theirs," Brian Cornell, Target's CEO told reporters during a conference call on Saturday.

Target sales

The moves, made public officially Sunday, come as Target is looking to build on its strong sales streak. Last week, the discounter raised its annual profit expectations after reporting strong second-quarter profits and sales. The discounter has been sprucing up its stores with new brands and displays.

Disney, which operates about 300 of its own stores globally, is looking for new ways to reach customers amid weak traffic declines at malls. Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said there's a 90% overlap between Disney and Target customers.

Disney also has shops at about 600 J.C. Penney stores. But unlike Target's Disney shops, they're not Disney store branded and do not have the breadth of merchandise or the interactive features.

Chapek told reporters that there are no plans to end the agreement with struggling Penney and said that the shops are doing well.

Target, which has long sold Disney merchandise, says the Disney shops will average about 750 square feet (70 sq. meters) each and will be located near children's clothing and toys. The shops will feature music, interactive displays, photo opportunities and a seating area where families can watch Disney movie clips.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

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