Microsoft has announced that it’s going completely digital and getting out of physical retail, permanently shutting down all of its stores.
While some locations, like the London, New York, Sydney and Redmond stores will be rebranded as Microsoft Experience Centres and “spaces that serve all customers,” the rest will be closed entirely. It’s not clear if jobs will be lost, but apparently retail staff will be moved to other facilities or work remotely to continue providing customer support.
Microsoft says it reaches more than 1.2 billion people a month through its online stores already and, not surprisingly, will continue to invest in digital retail. It’s already been doing that exclusively since March, when it closed down all of its stores due to the coronavirus. It hasn’t reopened any since and had not announced any plans until today.
“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,” said Microsoft corporate vice president David Porter. “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.”
The Microsoft Store has been around for just over a decade, with the first opening in the US around the time of Windows 7’s launch, in late 2009. There are now more than 100 stores globally.