Discovery shuttering 103 locations

Company to refocus sales efforts on the Web and through partnerships with larger stores.

NEW YORK ( -- Discovery Communications, owner of the Discovery Channel, plans to close 103 stand-alone and mall-based stores and refocus its retail efforts on sales through the Web and partnerships with larger retailers, the company announced Thursday.

Discovery Holding (Charts)-owned Discovery, which also operates TLC, Animal Planet and the Science Channel cable TV networks, said about 1,000 employees, 25 percent of its total work force, will be affected by the closings.

The closings should occur by the third quarter of 2007.

The company plans to focus on partnership with larger retailers such as Animal Planet's relationship with Toys 'R' Us, as well as licensing partnerships with Hudson Group, operator of the Discovery Channel Airport Stores, the company said in the statement.

Discovery said it also plans to look for new ways to sell its products through television.

The company's stock closed down 1 percent on the Nasdaq. Top of page