Microsoft today announced a “strategic change” in its retail operations, as it is permanently closing its chain of physical retail stores around the globe. Microsoft Store locations closed in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company’s retail employees will continue to serve customers from Microsoft corporate facilities – remotely providing sales, training, and support. New services include 1:1 video chat support, online tutorial videos, and virtual workshops with more digital solutions to come.
“It is a new day for how Microsoft Store team members will serve all customers,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President David 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’s online storefronts will continue to operate, and the company plans reimagined “Experience Centers” for customers in New York City, London, Sydney, and at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
“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,” said 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 first Microsoft Store opened in Scottsdale, Arizona in October 2009, eight years after the first Apple’ stores opened in Glendale, California and Washington, D.C.