Microsoft announces 'new approach to retail' -- closing all of its physical stores

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The coronavirus pandemic has hit many traditional companies hard, and when things finally get back to normal -- whatever the new normal will look like -- we may be without various big name firms.

Microsoft, like Apple, has had physical retail stores for years, albeit on a smaller, less successful scale. If you want to try a product first hand, you can visit one of these locations, try the hardware out, and buy and leave with it, if you’re happy with your experience. But that’s all about to change as Microsoft is closing its physical retail stores globally, and focusing instead on online sales.

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It is pulling the plug on nearly all of its retail stores, with the exception of four flagship sites in New York, London, Sydney, and Redmond, Washington, transforming these last stores standing into what it’s calling "Experience Centers".

The software giant will now focus on selling its products solely through the web.

"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," claims Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter. "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."

The move will result in a pre-tax charge of approximately $450 million, which the company says it will record in its current fiscal quarter that ends June 30.

"It is a new day for how Microsoft Store team members will serve all customers," continues 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."

Image credit: Cineberg / Shutterstock

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