Microsoft closing retail locations as part of ‘strategic change’

Microsoft closing retail locations as part of ‘strategic change’
FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2020, file photo a Microsoft computer is among items displayed at a Microsoft store in suburban Boston. Microsoft said Friday, June 26, it is permanently closing nearly all of its physical stores around the world. Like other retailers, the software and computing giant had to temporarily close all of its stores in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) (Steven Senne)

REDMOND, Wash. — Redmond-based Microsoft on Friday announced it will close store locations as part of a strategic change in its retail operations.

Company officials said retail team members will continue to help customers both remotely and from corporate facilities to provide sales, training and support.

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The company said it is also reimagining the Microsoft Experience Centers in Redmond, London, New York City and Sydney.

The closing of the store locations will result in a pre-tax charge of $450 million, or $0.05 per share, officials said.

“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,” Microsoft corporate vice president David Porter said in a news release. “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.”

Microsoft store locations have been closed since late March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, officials said retail workers have been working to help customers remotely and will continue to do so.

“We deliberately built teams with unique backgrounds and skills that could serve customers from anywhere. The evolution of our workforce ensured we could continue to serve customers of all sizes when they needed us most, working remotely these last months,” Porter said.

Company officials said Microsoft will continue to invest in digital innovation across software and hardware.

“It is a new day for how Microsoft Store team members will serve all customers,” Porter said.