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Microsoft permanently closing nearly all of its stores around the world

Big tech companies expand amid crisis
"Big Five" tech companies expand amid economic crisis 06:44

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 shut all of its stores in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to its website, Microsoft has 83 stores worldwide, including 72 in the U.S., where it sells laptops and other hardware. Friday's announcement reflects what the company calls a "strategic change" in its retail business as sales increasingly shift online.

The company said its four Microsoft Experience Centers in New York City, London, Sydney, Australia and at the company's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, will remain open, but it plans to "reimagine" how they will serve customers.

Microsoft didn't say if the move would result in layoffs. It noted 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.

Wedbush analysts called it "a tough, but smart strategic decision."

"The physical stores generated negligible retail revenue for [Microsoft] and ultimately everything was moving more and more towards the digital channels over the last few years," they wrote in a note.

Microsoft's stock ticked up on the news, rising 1.4%.

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