Microsoft to permanently close all physical stores

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A Microsoft store is seen boarded up on June 8, 2020 after rampant open looting and vandalism in New York, following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. – Today New York City enters “Phase 1” of a four-part reopening plan after spending more than two months under lockdown. New York City is the final region in the state to reopen its economy. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

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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