Microsoft will move forward with a renewed focus on its digital storefronts and continue to offer new services like 1:1 video chat support and virtual workshops.
Microsoft today announced a dramatic shift in its retail strategy that’ll see the company permanently close all of its physical Microsoft Store locations.
Like many others, Microsoft shut down its retail storefronts in mid-March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some impacted employees got busy training small business and education customers on how to work remotely during the new normal. Others stepped up to help host workshops, summer camps and virtual graduations, Redmond said.
Before today, Microsoft had operated a first-party physical retail presence for almost 11 years. With today’s announcement, it’s closing 83 locations. Like the Apple Store, the company’s retail chain was a way for Microsoft to highlight its latest products and the strength of its ecosystem. Microsoft said the decision will result in a pre-tax charge of approximately $450 million, which the company will record in its current fiscal quarter.
“It is a new day for how Microsoft Store team members will serve all customers,” said Porter. “We are energized about the opportunity to innovate in how we engage with all customers, maximize our talent for greatest impact, and most importantly help our valued customers achieve more.”
Microsoft didn’t mention anything about layoffs in its announcement it sounds as if most or all of the displaced retail employees will be retrained to work remotely on other tasks.