Disney U.S. Parks Cutting Jobs, Seeking Efficiencies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Walt Disney Co has cut an undisclosed number of workers at its domestic parks this month in a previously announced plan to consolidate behind-the-scenes operations for Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, a spokesman said.

Local media in Florida, tipped off by laid-off workers, have reported cuts as deep as 450 jobs at the two locations.

Disney World spokesman Michael Griffin would not confirm the number but said the cuts may continue as the company searches for efficiencies in the two parks’ operations.

“These changes are essential to maintaining our leadership position in family tourism and reflect today’s economic realities,” Griffin said. “As acknowledged previously, these actions will unfortunately result in the elimination of positions.”

In February, Disney’s theme park business, anchored by the two domestic resorts, reported a 24 percent drop in quarterly operating income and a 4 percent decline in revenue for the company’s first fiscal quarter, due in part to slowing consumer spending.

A couple of weeks later, Disney said it would streamline the parks’ services that are not consumer-facing. It said the new structure would require an undisclosed number of job cuts.

Earlier this month, Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger told investors that domestic park attendance was holding “even” in the current quarter but deep ticket discounts designed to drive attendance were cutting into per capita spending.

Disney shares were down 2.6 percent at $18.55 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Gina Keating; Editing by Gary Hill)

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