Microsoft today announced that it will close all its physical stores around the world except for 4 locations present in New York City (Fifth Ave), London (Oxford Circus), Sydney (Westfield Sydney), and the Redmond campus location which will be “reimagined” as experience centers that no longer sell products.
Microsoft says Microsoft.com and the Xbox and Windows storefronts reach “up to 1.2 billion monthly customers in 190 markets.” So Microsoft will be focusing on digital retail moving forward.
The company tells The Verge that no layoffs will result from today’s decision. “Our commitment to growing and developing careers from this diverse talent pool is stronger than ever,” Microsoft Store VP David Porter said in a LinkedIn post on the move.
Originally Microsoft planned on doing this next year but officials said it got accelerated due to Covid-19. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is launching this holiday, so it makes sense that the company had at least initially planned for the stores to make it that far. The dual-screen Surface Neo device that was also going to ship during the holidays has been delayed, though the Surface Duo is apparently still on track for this year.