Microsoft has announced that its physical retail store locations will permanently close in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and everywhere else in the world.
“As part of our business plan, we announced a strategic change in our retail operations, including closing Microsoft Store physical locations,” said David Porter, Microsoft Corporate Vice President in a LinkedIn announcement.
Although the company is giving up on its retail stores, four locations, including the one in New York City (Fifth Ave), Sydney (Westfield Sydney), London (Oxford Circus), and the Redmond (Washington) locations will continue as “reimaged” Microsoft Experience Centers. In addition, according to the announcement, the store employees will be reassigned to other sections of the company to continue serving customers remotely.
Microsoft also revealed that its hardware and software sales continue to shift online as its offerings have evolved to digital products, and it has seen significant “growth on Microsoft.com and […] digital Xbox and Windows storefronts reaching up to 1.2 billion monthly customers in 190 markets.” As a result, the company will focus on digital retail only moving forward.
While the retail stores have been struggling to compete with the Apple stores, Microsoft says that the reason is due to the unprecedented health situation that has affected the entire world.