Microsoft will shutter all its physical Microsoft Store locations as part of a “strategic change in its retail operations,” according to a statement from the company. Microsoft will continue investing in its digital infrastructure and serving customers from corporate facilities and its Microsoft Experience Centers located in London, New York City, Sydney and Redmond, Wash. Microsoft currently operates 73 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, three in Canada, one in Australia and one in the UK.
“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 David Porter, VP at Microsoft Corporate in the statement. “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.”
As a non-essential retailer, Microsoft closed all its stores in March. During this period, the retail team continued working to train customers on how to work remotely and handled support calls. The company hosted more than 14,000 online workshops and summer camps and more than 3,000 virtual graduations. The retail team will continue serving these customers while “building a pipeline of talent with transferable skills.”
“We deliberately built teams with unique backgrounds and skills that could serve customers from anywhere,” said Porter. “The evolution of our workforce ensured we could continue to serve customers of all sizes when they needed us most, working remotely these last months. 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.”
The closing of Microsoft Store physical locations will result in a pre-tax charge of approximately $450 million during the current quarter ending June 30, 2020. The charge includes primarily asset write-offs and impairments.