Microsoft to permanently close nearly all physical stores

Microsoft is giving its workers an additional three months of paid parental leave to deal with extended school closures due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Microsoft says 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 its stores in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft has 72 stores in the U.S. and several others abroad where they showcase and sell laptops and other hardware. Microsoft has one store in Jacksonville at the St. Johns Town Center, which is among the locations that will close.

The tech giant plans to keep its locations in New York City and Washington, as well as some spots overseas. The company said that the locations will be re-imagined as “experience centers,” which will still showcase its technology. They won’t necessarily sell products.

“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 Vice President David Porter in a news release.

Friday’s announcement reflects what the company calls a “strategic change'' for its retail business as sales increasingly shift online.

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

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