Microsoft Corp. said it will close its physical store locations permanently but will continue to invest in a digital storefront.
The move will result in a pretax charge of about US$450 million, or 5 cents a share, in the current quarter, Microsoft said in a statement Friday.
“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 Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter.
Microsoft closed its 82 stores, most of which are in the U.S. and feature Surface tablets and other devices, in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple Inc. has reopened its retail sites only to have several of them close again as the virus resurges in some locations.
While under lockdown, Microsoft said its retail team has 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.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said it has seen “significant growth” through its digital storefronts, including Microsoft.com, and stores for Xbox and Windows. The company will continue to invest in digital innovation with new services including 1:1 video chat support, online tutorial videos and virtual works.
Microsoft’s shares fell 1.8 per cent to US$196.68 at 11:04 a.m. in New York Friday.