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Microsoft heralds "new approach to retail," shutters physical stores

by Mark Tyson on 29 June 2020, 10:11

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Microsoft closed its Microsoft Store locations around the world in March, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. It has now decided that these physical stores will not re-open. It sounds like Microsoft Store employees will be kept on in digital, training, and generally helping small business and enterprise with Microsoft products. However, prematurely winding up its stores (all 83 of them), including its Microsoft Experience Centres in London, NYC, Sydney, and Redmond campus locations, is going to cost the firm approximately $450M, or $0.05 per share.

Since the physical store closures, Microsoft has kept its retail store staff busy helping serve customers by remotely providing sales, training, and support. Microsoft says that its team members have hosted more than 14,000 online workshops and summer camps and more than 3,000 virtual graduations too.

"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," explained Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter. "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."

As physical stores went offline, Microsoft asserts that it has enjoyed "significant growth," of its digital storefronts including Microsoft.com, and stores on Xbox and Windows. Thanks to the extra manpower, Microsoft has introduced new online services over recent months including; 1:1 video chat support, online tutorial videos, and virtual workshops, and promises more digital solutions are on the way.

Windows File Recovery CLI application

Another little news nugget today is that Microsoft has released the Windows File Recovery command line tool via the Microsoft store. Once downloaded and installed you can run this tool via the command prompt as below:

winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/switches]

You can find a full list of switches on Microsoft's support page. As for its scope, the app can recover lost/deleted files from your local FAT, exFAT, ReFS or NTFS storage device (including internal drives, external drives, and USB devices) that are no longer in the recycle bin. It doesn't work with network shares or cloud storage. This app requires Windows 10 build 19041 or later.

HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

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If a ‘new approach’ is to withdraw entirely from retail, an all-out failure is more like it. A cost of $450 million in asset write offs and ‘impairments’, the retail adventure started in 2009, grew to 116 stores worldwide by 2018 but now only 82. Whatever you call it, you can't polish the proverbial!
MS had stores?

Who knew? Learn something every day.
I was more impressed that Corporate Vice President David Porter is Speaking over 120 languages.
It was sadly doomed from the start - they don't have the image that Apple has, and no matter how nice the MS Surface line is, it's not enough on it's own to prop up a store network, at least in the UK.

Shame it didn't really work out - but getting rid seems the right decision imo.
To be fair to MS here and in fact most companies who are reducing stores, especially in the current post covid climate, I can't blame them.

I'm pretty sure Apple (and a few other larger companies) would love the ability to just shift fully online, just think about the savings they could make from not having a retail store to maintain and/or pay rent on etc but at least in the case of Apple, their stores are a major ‘advertising’ point for them…not that I have one near me, the closest is well over an hour away by car.

If I'm completely honest I don't ‘want’ to go shopping in stores yet (far too many people in the UK are being stupid going to the beaches etc)…. I was already ordering 90% of my items online, partly due to no local stores having what I actually wanted to buy and needing to go online anyway (clothing especially) or there just being nowhere to actually buy what I want to buy. Most of my tech is bought online as the only option I have here is some smaller independents that hugely overprice or pcworld that half the time doesn't have the item in stock (it's not a small store either). Admittedly I have noticed that the quality of items being sent and/or delivery has dropped though, I'm having to send more damaged items back than before too.

So essentially my ‘retail store’ experience basically ends up being window shopping at best, if I'm lucky I might get to look at the item and get a feel for the quality but then not be able to buy it for whatever reason. I've literally lost count of the times I've basically been told, sorry we don't have it in store but you can get it via our website…..

Realistically the only thing I miss is fresh food shopping, online shopping has been pretty good for me here in most cases but I like to pick my own meat and veg etc so I get ‘good quality’ stuff rather than whatever I'm given which can be a bit hit or miss.