Microsoft abandons physical retail - Mobile World Live

Microsoft abandons physical retail

26 JUN 2020

Microsoft announced plans to permanently close all of its retail shops across the globe, as part of a shift to a new digital sales strategy sparked by growth in online purchases.

Four locations in London; New York City; Sydney; and Redmond, Washington, will be reconfigured as customer experience centres.

Stores closed in late March due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The company said it expects to book a $450 million charge in the current quarter, primarily from asset write-offs associated with making the move permanent.

Earlier this month, US operator AT&T announced plans to close hundreds of stores and slash thousands of jobs in response to an increase in digital sales.

Despite the shake-up, Microsoft gave no indication of layoffs, stating retail staff will transition to providing sales, support and remote training.

Microsoft corporate VP David Porter said in a statement “it is a new day for how Microsoft Store team members will serve all customers”, adding they have already “proven success serving customers beyond any physical location” during the pandemic.

The company noted its digital storefronts across Microsoft.com, Xbox and Windows collectively serve “1.2 billion people every month in 190 markets”. It said it would continue to invest in new digital assets for these, noting it already launched video chat support, online tutorials and virtual workshops.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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