Microsoft is closing all its stores: Here's why
In a bid to adjust with the new 'normal', Microsoft has announced the plan to close its physical stores permanently. The company has issued a statement saying it will halt operations at all of its retail store locations in the US and around the world and switch to a full online-only sales model. Here's all you need to know about it.
All stores closing, four to be reimagined as 'experience centers'
A few hours ago, Microsoft shared a blog post announcing the decision to give up on physical retail. The company said it will shutter all 83 of its outlets globally, except four locations in the US, the UK, and Australia, which will be reimagined as 'experience centers'. These centers will showcase Microsoft technologies, including Xbox, Windows, and Surface products, but won't necessarily sell anything.
Digital sales will be embraced, expanded
With this move, the Redmond giant plans to shift completely to an online-only sales model. The company says it reached more than 1.2 billion people every month in 190 markets through its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com, and stores in Xbox and Windows. However, it did not say how it plans to double down on digital retail, moving forward.
Sales have grown online, says Microsoft Corporate VP 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. We're grateful to our Microsoft Store customers and we look forward to continuing to serve them online."
No layoffs will be carried out
Despite the bold shift from physical to online-only retail, Microsoft will not be laying off any store associates, the company has confirmed to The Verge. The company says its retail team will "continue to serve customers from Microsoft corporate facilities and remotely providing sales, training, and support on remote working and learning software (among other things) to small businesses and education customers."
Here's what Porter said about the retail associates
"We deliberately built teams with unique backgrounds and skills that could serve customers from anywhere," Porter added. "Speaking over 120 languages, their diversity reflects the many communities we serve. Our commitment to growing and developing careers from this talent pool is stronger than ever."
Store closures were planned before the pandemic
The decision from the company comes after its stores closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic in March and remained shut even as giants like Apple began re-opening. According to The Verge's sources, the company had already planned to shut down physical retail stores, but the plan was for the next year, which has been expedited in light of the whole COVID-19 crisis.