Home >Companies >News >Microsoft to close official retail stores, focus on online

Microsoft is permanently closing its offline retail stores across the world except in four locations and will be focusing on improving their online stores, the company announced in a blog post on LinkedIn.

Microsoft has 116 stores in 5 countries including US, UK, Canada, Australia and Puerto Rico.

The four stores that will remain open will be redesigned. These stores are located in Fifth Avenue in New York City, Oxford Circus in London, Westfield Sydney in Sydney, and Redmond campus Washington.

"As part of our business plan, we announced a strategic change in our retail operations, including closing Microsoft Store physical locations. Our retail team members will continue to serve customers working from Microsoft corporate facilities or remotely," David Porter, corporate vice president, Microsoft said in a statement.

Porter points out that the company's hardware and software sales have been shifting online recently and they have

strong growth on Microsoft.com and digital Xbox and Windows storefronts raking up to 1.2 billion monthly customers in 190 markets.

"We will make our digital storefronts the best place to learn, buy, and receive support across software and hardware," Porter added.

Microsoft's retail stores mostly stock Microsoft's signature products like Surface Pro, Surface Book, Xbox consoles, in addition to keeping premium notebooks by Microsoft's various partner OEMs. The stores also have a software desk where customers can make enquiries about their various software and cloud solutions. The first Microsoft store was opened in 2009 in Scottsdale, Arizona after the launch of Windows 7.

With more people buying electronics online, offline retail stores have lost customer footfalls as well as revenue in the last few years. Online shopping sales offering huge discounts on electronics and other goods have exacerbated things for offline retailers as they can't match the online prices.

The recent lockdown brought on by Covid-19 has made things harder for offline stores, forcing many to

re-evaluate their offline strategy. Many of the offline retailers across the world have switched to an O2O (online to offline) model where customers can register their interest in a product online on the company's official online store or social media page. Then they are connected to their nearby retailer, who guides them, processes payment and then gives them a time to pick the device from the store.

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