Windows Phone: What you need to know
- Microsoft has closed all its Specialty Stores in the US.
- 17 kiosks were closed in malls, down from a peak of 34 in 2013.
- Over 80 full-retail stores remain.
- No retail stores have closed.
Microsoft is on the cusp of finally opening its flagship retail store in the UK on July 11, but all of the smaller Microsoft Specialty Stores have evidently been shuttered with many reportedly closing this past weekend.
As of June 2019, Microsoft has just over 80 full-fledged Microsoft Stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia, but 17 of the smaller kiosks and so-called specialty stores have now been removed. Indeed, all the specialty stores are now gone implying a planned shift in retail strategy.
A standard Microsoft Specialty Store. Image via Bing Maps.
Comparing Microsoft’s store locator today to the Internet Way Back Machine it’s evident which locations are affected:
- Brea, Brea Mall, CA
- Glendale, Glendale Galleria, CA
- Roseville, Westfield Galleria at Roseville, CA (2017)
- Broomfield, FlatIron Crossing, CO
- Denver, Cherry Creek Mall, CO
- Des Moines, Jordan Creek Town Ctr, IA
- Chicago, Shops at North Bridge, IL (2017)
- Lexington, Fayette Mall, KY
- Louisville, Oxmoor Center, KY
- South Portland, The Maine Mall, MA
- Columbia, The Mall in Columbia, MD
- New York, Time Warner Center – The Shops at Columbus Circle, NY (2017)
- Portland, Washington Square, OR
- Pittsburgh, Ross Park Mall, PA
- Providence, Providence Place, RI (2017)
- Knoxville, West Town Mall, TN
- San Antonio, North Star Mall, TX
- Murray, Fashion Place Mall, UT
- Lynnwood, Alderwood, WA
- Seattle, Pacific Place, WA (2017)
- Seattle, Westfield Southcenter, WA
- Wauwatosa, Mayfair, WI
Five of those locations closed in 2017. Going back to 2013 Cnet reported there were 34 Specialty Stores at the time, strongly suggesting this has been a trend for many years now.
This week’s closures mean Maine, Kentucky, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin no longer any Microsoft retail presence.
Out of all the locations since 2017 only one full-fledged store – located in Bethesda, Westfield Montgomery, Maryland – has shut down. (Microsoft has said this store is not closed)
Update 4:30 PM ET: Microsoft, via Cnet, has released a statement confirming the news:
After careful discussion and evaluation, we’ve made the decision to close our specialty store locations. We are focused on delivering great experiences throughout the customer journey. We will continue to connect with and empower our customers to achieve more and discover all that’s possible with Microsoft through Microsoft Store across the globe online and in our physical stores in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia, and coming soon to the U.K. We look forward to continuing to showcase a robust lineup of products and services at our full line and flagship stores, providing the space and support for us to deliver experiences that our customers are excited about.
Windows Phone: Microsoft retail our take
Microsoft’s Specialty Stores were always odd destinations. Located in malls, which have been steadily declining in the United States due to strong online retail sales they also seemed like temporary fixtures. Focusing on “curated” Microsoft products – especially Surface, and at one time Windows Phone – these specialty stores tended to be signific