In a move that led to a 2 percent drop in shares of Microsoft on Friday, the PC giant announced the permanent shutting down of 83 of its offline retail stores worldwide. The company plans to do all its sales via online shopping channels but has also mentioned that four of its stores in NYC, London, Sydney, and Redmond will be turned into experience centers for visitors. None of its employees from these stores will lose their jobs, as they will be given the option to move to work on the retail website.
“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,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter. “Speaking over 120 languages, their diversity reflects the many communities we serve. Our commitment to growing and developing careers from this talent pool is stronger than ever.”
According to The Verge, sources familiar to the matter have revealed that this move was supposed to take place next year anyway, but was accelerated by the COVID-19 outbreak. This actually explains why Microsoft had failed to open a single retail store in the US after it was closed owing to lockdowns in the country.
“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,” said David Porter. “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.”
Henceforth, all the attention of the company’s sales department will be focused on digital storefronts on Microsoft.com, and stores in Xbox and Windows.