Microsoft has confirmed that it plans to open its first UK store on London’s famous Regent Street.
Microsoft did not specify which building its store will occupy or when it will be open.
But RetailWeek reported that Microsoft has its eyes on a building currently occupied by United Colours of Benetton, adding that Microsoft is discussing a 10-year lease on the property.
This isn’t the first time reports about Microsoft being interested in a flagship UK store surface; the firm was rumoured to open one back in 2013 (and then 2015), but apparently couldn’t find the right spot and ultimately shelved its plans.
In recent years, Microsoft opened a few other stores across the globe, more notably one in New York City’s busy Fifth Avenue, and a second one in Sydney, Australia two years ago — its first outside of the US.
This is a further signal of Microsoft’s increased interest in its hardware operations. For one, it’s been consistently beefing up the Surface lineup of devices, which now has a large enough portfolio to cover almost all categories of devices (save for, notably, a smartphone).
Then there’s a larger interest in promoting its consumer-facing image; Google, too, is scaling up its internal devices team, but still doesn’t enjoy a big presence in terms of retail.
With the exception of Apple — whose London flagship store would be less than a minute away from Microsoft’s — Microsoft is the only other company that offers a complete range of hardware, software, and services, and has a large enough footprint, brand recognition, and wallet to put its foot forward in the retail space.
Cindy Rose, head of Microsoft in the UK, said in a statement: “We couldn’t be happier to be opening a flagship store in the heart of central London at Oxford Circus, where two of the world’s most iconic shopping streets meet.
“We know our customers and fans, whether they are from London, the broader UK or just visiting, will love our bold plans for the space.
“This will be so much more than just a great place to experience all that is possible with Microsoft, but a real hub for the community where we’ll be bringing to life our passion for helping people explore their creativity through an ambitious program of workshops and training along with moments that work to unite the community.”
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