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.
Microsoft has 83 stores, including 72 stores in the U.S., where it showcases and sells laptops and other hardware.
The company says it will "reimagine" spaces that serve all customers, including operating Microsoft Experience Centers in London, NYC, Sydney, and Redmond campus locations.
Friday’s announcement reflects what the company calls a “strategic change” for its retail business as sales increasingly shift online.
Microsoft said all employees would have the opportunity to remain with the company. Retail workers will continue to serve customers from corporate facilities and remotely, providing sales, training and support.
Microsoft says it will continue to invest in its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com, and stores in Xbox and Windows, reaching more than 1.2 billion people every month in 190 markets.
“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. “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.”