Discovery Channel closes stores for e-commerce focus

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Discovery Communications has said it will close all its mall-based and stand-alone Discovery Channel Stores and focus on its e-commerce platform and building partnerships with large retailers for its consumer products.

Discovery will also explore new avenues for product sales through television by capitalizing on the company's network reach in the U.S. and around the world.

"By eliminating our owned and operated brick-and-mortar storefronts, which are cost-intensive and complicated businesses, Discovery can focus its efforts on high-growth e-commerce and licensing operations," David Zaslav, president/CEO of Discovery Communications, said in a statement.

Discovery's e-commerce operations, which include DiscoveryStore.com and partnerships with Amazon.com and eBay, posted a 144 percent increase in sales in 2006.

The closing of Discovery's 103 mall-based and stand-alone Discovery Channel Stores will happen by the end of third quarter 2007. DJM Realty will manage the disposition of the locations along with a corporate office and a distribution center.

Discovery Communications, Silver Spring, MD, will continue its licensing partnership with Hudson Group, which operates Discovery Channel Airport Stores in airports across the U.S. and Canada. Discovery will also continue its relationship with Toys "R" Us for Animal Planet and will look to develop other long-term programs with key manufacturers to translate Discovery's content in a variety of merchandising opportunities.

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