Microsoft is exiting the bricks-and-mortar business.

The tech company on Friday announced that it will shutter all of its Microsoft Store physical locations, which have been closed since late March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has operated 83 stores, mostly in the U.S.

The closing of the Microsoft Store locations will result in a charge of about $450 million against earnings, to be recorded in the quarter ending June 30, 2020. That includes primarily asset write-offs and impairments, the company said.

According to Microsoft, employees who worked in the retail locations will be offered new jobs with the company. It opened its first physical store in 2009.

The company plans to convert four of its retail locations — in New York, London, Sydney, and at its corporate headquarters in Redmond, Wash. — into “Microsoft Experience Centers,” which will showcase products like the Surface computers and Xbox game console but not sell them.

“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 VP 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.”

During COVID-19, Microsoft said its retail division has helped small businesses and educational customers “digitally transform” and has hosted more than 14,000 online workshops and summer camps (along with more than 3,000 virtual graduations).

Pictured above: The Microsoft Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City being boarded up on June 2 after looting that occurred following protests over the police killing of George Floyd

https://variety.com/2020/digital/news/microsoft-stores-closing-permanently-1234691208/