Microsoft is shuttering brick-and-mortar locations as it unveils a “strategic change” in the way it runs its retail business. The technology firm’s retail staffers will keep helping customers from corporate offices while offering sales, support and education virtually, as investments continue to be made via digital storefronts as well as Windows and Xbox stores, per an announcement.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter said in the announcement, “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 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.”
Microsoft said the shuttering of brick-and-mortar stores will lead to a roughly $450 million pre-take charge (or 5 cents a share) for its current quarter concluding on June 30.
The company said its retail team has assisted education and small business clients in their digital transformations, fielded support calls to aid clients and digitally trained education and enterprise clients on virtual learning as well as workplace software. It said the team hosted over 14,000 digital workshops, as well as summer camps and more than 3,000 digital graduations.
Microsoft said it would keep investing in innovation throughout hardware and software as it experiences sizable expansion via its virtual storefronts. Digital tutorial videos, online workshops and person-to-person video chat support are encompassed in the company’s new offerings "with more digital solutions to come."
Porter said, “It is a new day for how Microsoft Store team members will serve all customers.”
In July of last year, news surfaced that Microsoft planned to open its inaugural European retail location as it sought to strengthen its physical footprint and compete with others that provide special brick-and-mortar shopping experiences. The 21,932-square-foot location in Oxford Circus was to be in the vicinity of Apple's flagship Regent Street store.