The great news is that Microsoft only has 83 retail locations, including a store just a block away from Apple’s iconic glass cube store on 5th Avenue in New York. The bad news – all 83 locations are closing for good.
The announcement from Microsoft stated the company will be focusing on its online store, Microsoft.com. Instead of laying off team members, retail store associates will transition to helping customers online. Microsoft emphasized that all employees will have the opportunity to stay with Microsoft.
Microsoft stores are similar to Apple stores. They are open to the public where consumers can try out new Microsoft software and hardware before they buy.
According to a blog published by Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter, “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.”
In regards to how customers can get the same services offered by the current Microsoft retail store he wrote, “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.”
While many stores will disappear, some of the retail locations will be “reimagined.” They will no longer sell products; however, they will offer customers a way to experience Microsoft’s latest technology.
Microsoft stated in a press release, “The company will also reimagine spaces that serve all customers, including operating Microsoft Experience Centers in London, NYC, Sydney, and Redmond campus locations.”
Microsoft closed all of its stores temporarily in March due to the spread of the coronavirus. Although the company did not specifically state the virus as the reason for closures, the decision appears to mimic the timing of the closures.
They did state that closing the physical locations would “result in a pre-tax charge of approximately 450 million, or $0.05 per share”. They went onto say that “The charge includes primarily asset write-offs and impairments,”
Although the coronavirus may not be the reason for closures, the company can use it as a way to offset taxes in the current quarter which ends on June 30th.
The first Microsoft store was opened in Scottsdale, Arizona in October 2009. This was eight years after Apple opened its first stores in Glendale, California and the Washington, D.C. area.
For North American consumers, unless you live by one of the few locations, which will now be “Customer Experience Centers,” you’ll need to go through Microsoft.com to try out new software and gain more information on the latest Microsoft products.