Microsoft will be permanently closing their physical retail stores worldwide, including all seven Microsoft Store locations in Canada.
In a press release issued June 26, the tech giant attributed the closures to a shift in strategy, as Microsoft will focus on retail through their digital channels and continue to sell products at third-party retailers like Best Buy and Staples.
Microsoft opened their first dedicated retail store in 2009 and operate over 100 stores worldwide, mostly in the United States with smaller presences in Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. All Microsoft Store locations have been closed since late-March due to COVID-19.
According to The Verge, Microsoft had initially planned to close their retail stores in 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated their plan and all stores are expected to close by the end of this year. Four locations – London, New York, Redmond and Sydney – will be re-configured into Microsoft experience centres that will not sell products.
The first Microsoft Store in Canada was opened in Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre in November 2012, with more locations opening in later years in Alberta (Calgary, Edmonton), British Columbia (Burnaby, Vancouver) and Ontario (Mississauga, Toronto Eaton Centre).