Last week, we reported on Microsoft seemingly taking a cautious approach to reopening physical Microsoft Store locations following the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple and other retailers had already started to open their stores. However, it is now clear Microsoft's delay has a little more behind it than just being cautious. A blog post today, the company said it will close most of its Microsoft Store locations. Those closures will happen in the United States and globally. However, Microsoft confirmed four store locations will be converted into Microsoft Experience Centers. These centers combine technology with partners to showcase what Microsoft offers, including through demonstrations. As you can probably guess, tthe companies flagship stores will become Experience Centers. Specifically, locations in New York City (Fifth Ave), London (Oxford Circus), Sydney (Westfield Sydney), and the Redmond campus location. Every other location will be shuttered. Microsoft is painting this decision as it entering a “new approach to retail”. However, it is hard to not see this as the company just not having much interest in its land-based stores. Retail has never been as big a deal to Microsoft as it is to, say, Apple. There has never been a big push for Microsoft Stores to be anything other than a luxury. It seems the company has now decided it's a luxury it doesn't need. In its post, Microsoft says it had planned to announce the closures in 2021.
Microsoft Store Locations Around the World to Close Immediately
Microsoft Store locations have been closed permanently by Microsoft, with the company now pushing its online stores.