I could barely look at the Microsoft Store at Natick Mall when I’d walk by to make the occasional Apple Store visit right next door. While the larger Apple Store would almost inevitably be bustling, if not packed, those poor Microsoft store employees in their bright blue shirts were largely just keeping each other company.
But cringe no more: Microsoft has shuttered its retail stores, so the one at Natick Mall won’t be reopening. “The company’s retail team members will continue to serve customers from Microsoft corporate facilities and remotely providing sales, training, and support,” according to a company press release, in which Microsoft says the closings will result in a $450M pre-tax charge.
It’s a bit tricky to figure out which other Natick Mall stores might be closing. The mall presents a list of stores that have opened and another broader list of stores with some marked as “temp closed.” But it doesn’t appear that the mall is marking any of the stores as “permanently closed.”
Separately, nutrition company GNC filed for bankruptcy protection and announced its “store optimization” plan—corporate speak for closing as many as 1,200 stores. At least so far, GNC’s Natick Mall location isn’t on the closing list.
Neiman Marcus, another Natick Mall tenant, has also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. No word yet on the status of its Natick store, which remains closed due to COVID-19 concerns.
Other big name retailers that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and that have Natick Mall stores incude Brooks Brothers and J. Crew. No word on the status of those shops yet, though Natick’s wasn’t on the initial list of Brooks Brothers closings.