Microsoft to permanently close all physical stores

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FILE – This July 3, 2014, file photo, shows the Microsoft Corp. logo outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash. In a lawsuit filed Thursday, April 14, 2016, Microsoft is suing the U.S. government over a federal law that lets authorities examine its customers’ email or online files without the customers’ knowledge. The lawsuit […]

NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft said Friday it is permanently closing nearly all of its physical stores around the world.

Like other retailers, the software and computing giant had to temporarily close all of its stores in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to its website, Microsoft has 83 stores worldwide, including 72 stores in the U.S., and several others abroad where it showcases and sells laptops and other hardware. Friday’s announcement reflects what the company calls a “strategic change” for its retail business as sales increasingly shift online.

Microsoft said it would “reimagine” the physical spaces at its four high-profile Microsoft Experience Centers in New York, London, Sydney, Australia and at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

All employees will have the opportunity to remain with the company, Microsoft said.

Microsoft Corp. said the closures would result in a pretax charge of about $450 million, or 5 cents per share, taken in the current quarter ending June 30.

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