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Microsoft Opens its First Retail Store in Europe, Bringing the Microsoft Experience to London

by Ivana Vojinovic

Microsoft’s London retail store opens its doors to the public for the first time today. The 22,000 square feet space, which is located in Oxford Circus – the heart of Europe’s busiest shopping district, displays everything Microsoft has to offer.

As of today, visitors will be able to try out the latest tech the company boasts, including the McLaren Senna racing car customized for an Xbox game, HoloLens VR headset, and Surface Pro laptops. Visitors will also have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Microsoft experience by in the gaming center or the community education center.

After New York and Sydney, the London store is the third flagship store in the world and the only retail outpost in Europe. Even though Microsoft has more than 80 brick-and-mortar selling points globally, the company put a lot of effort into creating a unique experience for shoppers at this particular location.

Over two years in the making, Microsoft managed to showcase architectural features of the 1920s historic building that houses the store, such as leaded windows and ceilings, while transforming its interior into a modern tech hub.

“As soon as we knew what we had in terms of the history of the building, there was never any doubt that we wanted to retain and restore that,” explains Simon Francis, Microsoft’s director of real estate, in an interview with The Verge.

Apart from generating sales, the tech giant hopes to bring customers closer to its brand and create a unique atmosphere for shoppers and visitors in this metropolitan city.

“It’s a destination for experiences, to see the very best of Microsoft in all its facets, not just about device sales,” Microsoft’s Chief Executive for the UK, Cindy Rose, said to The Guardian.

The first floor houses giant 4K video walls playing Minecraft and a fitted model of a McLaren Senna that visitors can take for a test drive on Xbox.

One floor higher is the home of the Xbox gaming center, equipped with 15 consoles, Xbox-themed gaming chairs, and Turtle Beach headsets for a deeply engaging gaming experience. On this floor, students and teachers can come to the workspace area and learn about the Minecraft: Education Edition game.

The third and final floor is a designated business area with meeting rooms and event spaces where new services and hardware will be presented to business customers.

When it comes to hardware, the interested public has the chance to try out some of the finest tech the company has produced recently, like the 28-inch Surface Studio and Surface Pro 6.

“The Surface hardware that you see all throughout the store, that’s going to be a big, big seller,” Microsoft CMO, Chris Capossela said to CNBC. “There’s no doubt that a physical store is actually very good for choosing physical products and that’s part of why we’re here.”

The Microsoft brick-and-mortar location opens one block away from Apple’s Regent Street store, which has been operating for fifteen years.

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