Microsoft is giving up physical retail. The company announced today that it plans to permanently close all Microsoft Store locations in the United States and around the world, with the exception of four locations that are being “reinterpreted” as an Experience Center that no longer sell products.
These locations are New York City (Fifth Ave), London (Oxford Circus), Sydney (Westfield Sydney) and the location of the Redmond campus. The London store opened just a year ago. All other Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and worldwide will be closed, and the company will focus on advancing digital retail. According to Microsoft, Microsoft.com and the Xbox and Windows stores reach “up to 1.2 billion monthly customers in 190 markets”.
The company informs The Tekysinfo that today’s decision will not result from layoffs. “Our commitment to growing and developing careers in this diverse group of talent is stronger than ever,” said Microsoft Store VP Porter in a moving LinkedIn post.
A source familiar with Microsoft’s retail store told tekysinfo that the plan was originally in effect for the next year, but was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X starts this holiday. Therefore, it makes sense that the company had at least originally planned that the businesses should now arrive. The Surface Neo dual-screen device, which should also be delivered during the holidays, has been delayed, although the Surface Duo seems to be on the way for this year. However, if you hope that your local Microsoft store is a safe choice for a new Xbox, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
The big decision partially explains why Microsoft still had to reopen a single store after everyone was closed in the wake of the pandemic. Microsoft told (tekysinfo) its approach to reopening Microsoft store locations is measured and prudent by monitoring global data, listening to public health and safety experts in the last week, and following local regulatory restrictions. At this point, the company declined to provide an update on when a store could reopen.
Microsoft store in London.
With many Microsoft stores in malls and malls, the continued closure was not uncommon. In the United States, which is careful about restoring retail operations to avoid the resurgence of the new corona virus, most malls remain closed. COVID 19 peaks have already occurred in regions with loose guidelines, which has led Apple to reopen some stores where it recently had its first customers.
In a blog post in April, Microsoft highlighted how many retail store employees switched to remote work after marking their daily work. The company continued to provide regular salaries to team members during the pandemic. Members of our retail team will continue to serve customers who work in Microsoft company facilities or remotely, and we will continue to expand our diverse team to support the company’s overall mission and goals,the company said in today’s update.
The Microsoft Store made its debut in 2009 and closely followed the success of the Apple Playbook in retail. Each store is a showcase for the company’s Surface and Xbox hardware, as well as a selection of third-party computers. The employees were very familiar with Windows, and the company also offered events, workshops, customer service, and in-store repairs.
The stores were closed just before the last launch of Microsoft hardware, which included Surface Book 3, Surface Go 2, Surface Earbuds, and Surface Headphones 2.
Update June 26, 9:50 am ET: The article has been updated to clarify that all Microsoft retail stores are closing. The company’s locations in New York, London, Sydney and Redmond will be transformed into experience centers where no products will be sold.