In this Jan. 28 photo, a Microsoft computer is among items displayed at a Microsoft store in suburban Boston. Microsoft said Friday it is permanently closing nearly all of its physical stores around the world. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

In this Jan. 28 photo, a Microsoft computer is among items displayed at a Microsoft store in suburban Boston. Microsoft said Friday it is permanently closing nearly all of its physical stores around the world. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Microsoft to permanently close all physical stores

The company didn’t say if the move would result in layoffs.

Associated Press

NEW YORK — 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 they showcase and sell laptops and other hardware. In Washington, the company has stores at Bellevue Square and in the University Village shopping center in Seattle.

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 City, London, Sydney, Australia and at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

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. The company didn’t say if the move would result in layoffs.

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