Microsoft To Shutter All But Four Retails Outlets Permanently

Microsoft is Closing Its Retail Stores for Good

Microsoft is pulling the plug on its chain of retail stores, the company announced Friday.

Microsoft Corp. said it will close its physical store locations permanently but will continue to invest in a digital storefront that, along with third-party retailers, has driven sales of products such as the Xbox game player and Surface tablets.

According to its website, Microsoft has 83 stores worldwide, including their only physical shop in Australia, at Westfield Sydney.

"Our team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location", said David Porter, Microsoft Store vice president, in Friday's announcement.

The company says its retail team will "continue to serve customers from Microsoft corporate facilities and remotely providing sales, training, and support on remote working and learning software (among other things) to small businesses and education customers".

Microsoft said closing the stores will cost about $450 million in taxes but calls it a smart and strategic decision.

Microsoft is Closing Its Retail Stores for Good

The charge, of 0.05 cents per share, includes primarily asset write-offs and impairments. The reason Apple Stores generate strong foot traffic is that people like and want to walk into them.

The first Microsoft store was opened in 2009 in Scottsdale, Arizona after the launch of Windows 7. Presumably with more flagship centers to open around the globe in the near future.

Microsoft has more than 70 USA stores; seven in Canada; and one each in Puerto Rico, Australia, and England.

The company supports the community by organizing more than 14,000 online seminars and summer camps and more than 3,000 virtual graduation ceremonies. Apple began re-opening some locations in May but has re-closed stores in areas where the coronavirus cases are spiking. Dan Ives, a Wedbush Securities analyst, told Marketwatch that the amount of revenue from retail stores is probably about two percent of the company's total consumer sales.

"The Microsoft Store team has been celebrating at Microsoft for a long time and embodies our culture", said Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft's personnel director.

The impact of the pandemic has not yet been reflected in Microsoft's financial results.

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