The tech company will focus more on its online presence.
For approximately the last decade, Microsoft has been attempting to grow their physical retail brand in an effort to compete with Apple’s ubiquitous Apple Stores. The Microsoft Stores were built in a similar vein to the Apple Stores, featuring a similar glass box aesthetic and a variety of PC and video game demo machines for customers to try out. To date, there are 83 Microsoft Stores open in the United States. Soon, that number will be zero.
Microsoft announced today that they are officially shuttering all Microsoft Store locations permanently, and will instead shift focus to offering services through their online storefront.
“Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location,” Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter said on the company’s blog. “We are grateful to our Microsoft Store customers and we look forward to continuing to serve them online and with our retail sales team at Microsoft corporate locations.”
According to Microsoft, closing the stores will “result in a pre-tax charge of approximately $450 million, or $0.05 per share.” This is a sensible financial move for the company, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the majority of the storefronts to remain closed since March. “The charge includes primarily asset write-offs and impairments,” Microsoft added.
Retail team members from the Microsoft Stores will be rehired to help on the digital storefront. All retail employees, regardless of level, will be offered new jobs within the company. However, while this is the end of the Microsoft Store, it is not so for in-person Microsoft marketing. “The company will also reimagine spaces that serve all customers, including operating Microsoft Experience Centers in London, NYC, Sydney, and Redmond campus locations,” Microsoft said.