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Microsoft to close all 83 retail sites, turn 4 flagship stores into 'Experience Centers'

The surviving locations that will be transformed into "Experience Centers" are in London, New York, Sydney and Redmond, Washington.

The Microsoft Store in Manhattan will become a Microsoft Experience Center, while most other locations will be shut down. 
Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft is shuttering its retail stores around the world, the company said Friday, transitioning its direct sales focus to online outlets like and the stores inside Xbox and Windows. 

Flagship Microsoft Store locations, including stores in London, New York, Sydney and at the company's Redmond, Washington headquarters will become "Microsoft Experience Centers." 

The Windows-maker says that the closing of the physical locations will "result in a pre-tax charge of approximately $450 million, or $0.05 per share, to be recorded in the current quarter ending June 30, 2020."

All Microsoft Stores have been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company said that employees from the store locations will "continue to serve customers from Microsoft corporate facilities and remotely providing sales, training, and support."

First opening in 2009, Microsoft's retail stores were once seen as a rival to Apple Stores and offered a modern showcase for Windows and Xbox devices, as well as a way for people to get in-person customer support for their devices. According to Microsoft's site, the company currently operates 83 physical Microsoft Stores around the world, including the store at its headquarters. 

"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," Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter said in a statement. 

"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."