Microsoft is closing all of its retail stores, permanently

The inside of a Microsoft retail store at the Destiny USA shopping mall is seen through the store's exterior windows

The Microsoft Store at Destiny USA is seen on Thanksgiving Day

All of Microsoft's retail locations are already closed, but the permanent closure is expected to cost the company a pre-tax charge of $450 million.

Microsoft has just announced some major news for its retail stores across the world, which have been closed since March due to the covid-19 crisis.

With more people buying electronics online, offline retail stores have lost customer footfalls as well as revenue in the last few years.

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The four stores that will remain open will be redesigned. Microsoft has committed to transitioning retail employees to new sales and other roles, as the company shifts resources back into online commerce. "Our retail team members will continue to serve customers working from Microsoft corporate facilities or remotely", David Porter, corporate vice president, Microsoft said in a statement.

The move comes as most shopping continues to swerve into online environments, and Microsoft's selection of goods and services is progressing alongside that change. "The charge includes primarily asset write-offs and impairments", the company said today.

Porter said Microsoft would put more resources into its "digital storefronts" and use the retail workforce to offer new training and sales services, including one-on-one video sales support.

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It is pulling the plug on almost all of its retail stores, with the exception of four flagship sites in New York, London, Sydney, and Redmond, Washington, transforming these last stores standing into what it's calling "Experience Centers". The team supported communities by hosting more than 14,000 online workshops and summer camps and more than 3,000 virtual graduations.

"With significant growth through its digital storefronts, including Microsoft.com, and stores on Xbox and Windows, the company will continue to invest in digital innovation across software and hardware", reads the announcement.

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