Microsoft has confirmed it is opening its first UK store on Oxford Circus, which Retail Week exclusively revealed yesterday.
The technology giant has now signed for the store currently occupied by United Colours of Benetton at 255-259 Regent Street.
Microsoft UK chief executive Cindy Rose said: “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 programme of workshops and training along with moments that work to unite the community.”
The signing of the Oxford Circus store brings an end to Microsoft’s lengthy search for a UK flagship.
The business has been linked with a London store for a number of years following a string of successful openings in the US, including a flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue.
Commercial property agent CBRE is understood to be acting for the tech titan on the deal.
Brands becoming retailers
Microsoft’s entry to the UK is the latest example of a brand taking physical retail space on Oxford Street.
Dyson unveiled its first British store on Oxford Street in July last year and footwear brand New Balance threw open the doors of its London flagship last October as brands increasingly bid to cut out retail partners and sell direct to consumers.
Microsoft said: “Our approach to retail is simple – a complete and quality experience for our customers to interact directly with Microsoft.
“We enter markets with the goal of strengthening the experience, creating more career opportunities, and contributing to the local community and entire region.”
Microsoft’s stores offer free workshops and daily digital training programmes. The technology specialist regularly holds science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programmes, including YouthSpark camps where shoppers can learn about computer science, take Minecraft coding classes, leverage LinkedIn for business, and participate in Xbox game design sessions.
Microsoft also describes its stores as “hubs for local gaming communities”, where fans gather to play games like FIFA or Forza during events or competitive tournaments. It said it wanted to bring these experiences to its London stores.