This week, Microsoft ($MSFT) announced it would close "specialty store locations" in 17 cities. These smaller kiosks aren't full-fledged Microsoft Stores, of which the company still runs more than 80, or its planned flagship store in London, UK. Instead, they are (were?) curated experiences meant to appeal to mall shoppers.
When comparing those 17 closing kiosks to Microsoft's wider retail footprint, we discovered that 14 of those closures represent the company's retail abandonment of those localities. In other words, of the 17 Microsoft specialty stores slated to close, only 3 of those areas have a full Microsoft Store brick and mortar presence.
According to Windows Central, which did a little Way Back Machine sleuthing, the 17 affected kiosks appear to include:
- 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
By comparing Windows Central's list to our full Microsoft full brick-and-mortar footprint, all of those cities aside from Portland, New York, San Antonio, and Seattle will no longer see a Microsoft retail presence at all.
Microsoft's retail strategy is a curious one. As we've shown in the past, Microsoft stores tend to be strategically located near the very similar Apple Stores. The interactive map below shows that comparison which, on first glance, looks as though the two entities are literal imprints of one another. A zoom in on a particular neighborhood, however, shows that, in fact, most Microsoft stores are just down the street from Apple ($AAPL) Stores.
It's easy to point to slowing mall foot traffic as the main variable here: if Microsoft feels its mall-based kiosks aren't generating results due to slowing traffic, it would make sense to shutter them. The good news for Microsoft extant Stores, though, is that foot traffic, at least according to geolocation data published by Facebook as an indicator of selfies and status updates made from Microsoft Store locations, continues to be healthy.