Microsoft said that intends to finally close all Microsoft Store physical stores that had not been working since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and their employees switched to a remote site.
Representatives of the software giant write that now sales will finally go online, although physical stores Microsoft Store existed since 2009 and worked in many countries around the world. At the same time, employees of the retail sales department will continue to serve customers from corporate offices and will remotely provide sales, training and user support.
It is reported that the company will continue to invest in its "digital storefronts", that is, Microsoft.com and stores for Xbox and Windows, whose monthly reach is 1.2 billion people in the markets of 190 countries. In turn, the premises that are now occupied by the so-called Microsoft Experience Centers located in London, New York, Sydney and Redmond, the only ones from the entire network will not be closed, but they will be redesigned for other needs, and they will also not be engaged in sales .
Interestingly, own sources of publication The verge report that the abandonment of retail stores was planned for 2021 without any coronavirus, and the pandemic only made Microsoft speed up these plans a little.
“Our online sales have grown because our product portfolio mainly includes digital solutions, and our talented team managed to succeed in serving customers without being tied to any physical location,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter. “We are grateful to the customers of the Microsoft Store and will gladly continue to serve them online with the support of our retail team in Microsoft corporate offices.”
All these months, closed shop employees have not been idle. Employees from the retail department have helped small businesses and educational institutions move to remote work. The company's statement says that during this time, Microsoft employees, in fact, trained hundreds of thousands of corporate clients and representatives of educational institutions how to use the software for remote work and training. So, the team organized more than 14,000 online seminars and summer camps and held more than 3,000 virtual graduations.
The company separately emphasized that the closure of retail stores will not entail massive layoffs of employees.