Microsoft Permanently Closing All Retail Stores

Microsoft is Closing Its Retail Stores for Good

The company has issued a statement saying it will halt operations at all of its retail store locations in the United States and around the world and switch to a full online-only sales model. While physical Microsoft Store shops will cease operation, the announcement says that retail employees will remain on the payroll, moving to remote online support for digital shoppers.

In a bid to adjust with the new "normal", Microsoft has announced the plan to close its physical stores permanently.

"We will also offer consultations for small business and education customers and host trainings for our enterprise customers, and will continue to offer a range of community events and workshops", a Microsoft spokesperson said.

Most of the company's stores have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The four locations that will become Microsoft Experience Centers are in London, New York, Sydney and at the company's Redmond, Washington headquarters. The charge includes mostly asset write-offs and impairments.

Microsoft has 116 stores in 5 countries including US, UK, Canada, Australia and Puerto Rico. The company went on to open stores across the US, primarily in malls.

The first Microsoft Stores opened in 2009. Mostly, I remember people protesting outside of its flagship 5th Avenue location in NY.

Microsoft is Closing Its Retail Stores for Good
Microsoft is closing all of its retail stores, permanently

As if to salt the open wound of the stores' absence, Microsoft's stock price barely moved after news of closures was publicized.

With Microsoft shutting down these stores, it does likely mean that there will be layoffs. If you've ever been in a mall where there is a Microsoft store and an Apple Store, you'll see that there is a huge difference in the crowd.

However, the company's attention has largely shifted to selling software and services to businesses, the vast majority of which are now digital sales.

"Microsoft will continue to invest in its digital storefronts on, and stores in Xbox and Windows", the statement said.

In the face of Covid, Microsoft has announced a new approach to retail that involves shutting most of its brick-and-mortar stores and converting the remainder into experiential playgrounds. Then they are connected to their nearby retailer, who guides them, processes payment and then gives them a time to pick the device from the store.

The company has long struggled with getting people in the door, of its retail stores.

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