The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today reported earnings for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 28, 2019. Whilst attendance may have been down at the parks, it would seem that we all spent more!
Parks, Experiences and Products revenues for the quarter increased 8% to $6.7 billion, and segment operating income increased 17% to $1.4 billion. Operating income growth for the quarter was due to increases from merchandise licensing, Disneyland Resort and Disney Vacation Club.
Higher operating income at our merchandise licensing business was due to an increase in revenue from sales of merchandise based on Frozen and Toy Story, partially offset by lower sales of merchandise based on Mickey and Minnie.
Growth at Disneyland Resort was primarily due to higher guest spending, partially offset by expenses associated with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opened on May 31, and, to a lesser extent, lower attendance. Guest spending growth was primarily due to increases in average ticket prices and higher food, beverage and merchandise spending.
The increase in operating income at Disney Vacation Club was due to higher sales at Disney’s Riviera Resort in the current quarter, which included a timing benefit from the adoption of new revenue recognition accounting guidance (see page 6), compared to sales of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins in the prior-year quarter.
Results at Walt Disney World Resort were comparable to the prior-year quarter, despite the adverse impact of Hurricane Dorian in the current quarter. Increases in guest spending and, to a lesser extent, occupied room nights and attendance were offset by higher costs. Higher costs were driven by costs associated with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opened on August 29, and cost inflation. Guest spending growth was primarily due to increased food, beverage and merchandise spending and higher average ticket prices.
These are the only two mentions of Star Wars and/or Lucasfilm in the statement. It will be interesting to see how the opening of Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arriving in December will impact the next quarter’s earnings. We will be watching with interest.