The company has decided to completely abandon physical retail stores and focus on online channels instead.
Microsoft has announced its decision to rethink retailing and completely close its retail network around the world. The exceptions will be four stores in New York, London, Sydney, and Redmond, which will be transformed into experience centers and will not sell the company's products.
The company will focus on promoting its online stores. Microsoft reports that on the Microsoft.com website alone, Xbox and Windows application storefronts reach up to 1.2 billion customers per month in 190 countries. Earlier it was reported that the corporation had plans to close its retail store chain in 2021, but the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the closure of the retail chain. Microsoft was also forced to postpone the launch of several new products that were expected to arrive in stores this year. These included a Microsoft Xbox Series X game console and a Surface Neo tablet transformer.
This explains why Microsoft never opened any stores after they were all closed at the peak of the pandemic. Unlike other retailers that began opening stores and shopping malls in phases after quarantine, Microsoft did not report any opening dates.
Several U.S. states are already seeing new bursts of COVID-19, which, for example, has forced Apple to re-close some of the stores it only recently opened for customers.
The company specifically stresses that closing retail stores will not result in layoffs, and employees will provide customer service and product sales remotely. Some retailers have already switched to remote work since the beginning of the pandemic, and Microsoft continues to pay the salaries of all retail employees who work at its stores.
The Microsoft Store chain of authorized stores made its debut in 2009 and is a follow-up to Apple's successful store concept. Microsoft stores sell such consumer products as the Surface and Xbox, software, and a selection of computers and gadgets from other manufacturers. Employees of the stores advise visitors on various aspects of Windows work, and the stores hold various events, seminars, and support sessions on configuring user devices and minor repairs.
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