Microsoft Store locations will never re-open again

Microsoft is Closing Its Retail Stores for Good

Microsoft's announcement comes amid a wave of bad news for physical retailers as they grapple with unforeseen challenges associated with operating stores during a pandemic.

Microsoft in recent years has been relying more on its services such as cloud computing, with the retail locations focusing on its Surface tablets and laptops as well as Xbox gaming gear.

"The company's retail team members will continue to serve customers from Microsoft corporate facilities and remotely providing sales, training, and support", it writes. Microsoft will be investing more into its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com as well as the Xbox and Windows 10 stores.

The company said that a handful of flagship locations, including its sole United Kingdom store in London, would remain open as "experience centres", but that it would shift entirely to online sales. "That said, in this COVID-19 environment, this was the right time for Redmond to rip the band-aid off and close the stores strategically speaking, with a one-time charge being primarily overlooked by (Wall Street)". Often, Microsoft Stores were found on the opposite of or in close vicinity to Apple Stores.

Only four stores will open but no longer sell products.

The first Microsoft Store opened in 2009 and was somewhat of a clone of the successful Apple retail store model.

Unfortunately for some, getting to one of these stores will now only be possible in very few select locations.

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Microsoft has more than 70 US stores; seven in Canada; and one each in Puerto Rico, Australia, and England.

Microsoft's hardware and software sales have continued to shift online as its product portfolio has evolved to digital products including Microsoft 365, gaming and entertainment, according to Porter.

The tech giant estimates that it reaches 1.2 billion people every month through its online stores.

In a blog post in April, the company spoke about how retail stores had transformed their work following the introduction of safety measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which resulted in the closure of all non-essential shops.

Did you ever visit a Microsoft Store?

As the impact of company decisions on the technology industry, this move will soon attract more companies to focus on online sales rather than retail. The company has operated 83 stores, mostly in the U.S.

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