Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has announced a strategic change in its retail operations, including closing all but a handful of its Microsoft Store physical locations. Microsoft’s existing flagship stores; New York City (Fifth Ave), London (Oxford Circus) (which only opened in July 2019), Sydney (Westfield Sydney), and the Redmond campus location will be reimagined as ‘experience centres’.
The closing of all other Microsoft Store physical locations will result in a pre-tax charge of approximately USD 450M, or $0.05 per share, to be recorded in the current quarter ending June 30, 2020. The charge includes primarily asset write-offs and impairments.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter said “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. 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”.
All Microsoft Store locations closed in late March due to the #COVID19 pandemic but since that time, the retail employees have been helping small businesses and education customers digitally transform, have virtually trained hundreds of thousands of enterprise and education customers on remote work and learning software; and helped customers with support calls. The team supported communities by hosting more than 14,000 online workshops and summer camps and more than 3,000 virtual graduations.
We are told that Microsoft retail team members will continue to serve consumers, small-business, education, and enterprise customers, while building a pipeline of talent with transferable skills.