Microsoft is getting back into physical retail — sort of

Microsoft is returning to selling products at brick-and-mortar stores, kind of. The software giant will start selling products at its “Experience Centers” in London, New York City, and Sydney next month. Select Microsoft products will be available on July 1st, but the global chip shortage will impact what’s available to buy.

Xbox Series X / S consoles won’t be available initially, until stocks of these devices improve to meet demand. Other Xbox-related products will be available, alongside Surface devices and Microsoft 365 subscriptions.

“Our Microsoft Experience Centers were created to provide customers a way to experience our products in person,” said Travis Walter, Microsoft’s head of retail stores, in a statement to The Verge. “We use these spaces to test and experiment, and continue to evolve the experience based on customer feedback. Starting July 1st, customers will be able to purchase select Microsoft products at the New York, London and Sydney locations.”

Microsoft permanently closed its retail stores in the US and around the world last year, shortly after the pandemic began. The company has been moving store employees to areas that help sell to, train, and support Microsoft’s business customers.

This move doesn’t signal a return of Microsoft’s retail stores, and there won’t be online ordering or pick up in store available. Microsoft has been using its four Experience Center locations to host business customers, and the ability to purchase items is primarily aimed at those who visit.

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