As announced, the retail team members will now focus on serving customers from Microsoft corporate facilities and remotely providing sales, training, and support. The closure of Microsoft Store locations in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has significantly influenced this change in retail operations as it may have exposed the capabilities of having a more digitalized store over physical ones.
Since the lockdown of stores in late March, Microsoft reports that its retail team has helped small businesses and education customers digitally transform; virtually trained hundreds of thousands of enterprise and education customers on remote work and learning software; and helped customers with support calls. Through the period, the team hosted more than 14,000 online workshops and summer camps and over 3,000 virtual graduations.
“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. 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,” said David Porter, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft.
“We deliberately built teams with unique backgrounds and skills that could serve customers from anywhere. The evolution of our workforce ensured we could continue to serve customers of all sizes when they needed us most, working remotely these last months. Speaking over 120 languages, their diversity reflects the many communities we serve. Our commitment to growing and developing careers from this talent pool is stronger than ever.”
Microsoft also stated that it will reimagine spaces that serve all customers, including operating Microsoft Experience Centers in London, NYC, Sydney, and Redmond campus locations.
In terms of stocks, the closing of Microsoft physical stores will result in a pre-tax charge of approximately $450 million, or $0.05 per share, which will be recorded in the current quarter ending June 30, 2020.