Microsoft opens massive flagship

Microsoft it taking a page from Apple's playbook by opening a large flagship store just a few blocks away from Apple's store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

It isn't Microsoft's first store—the company operates just over 100 locations—but it is the largest at 22,000 sq. ft. and five floors. The location will feature the company's newest products, a gaming area for Xbox fans, and host services to help customers with products and problems.

In addition to selling products, Microsoft will use the locations to showcase products and solutions from the company and third-party vendors such as Dell, Microsoft Stores COO David McAughan told The Street.

And like Apple, Microsoft intends for the stores to serve as marketing vehicles.

"We think we are at that point in time where we think we have a real story to tell—Fifth Avenue is an international destination, so it gives us a great leverage point to talk to customers around the world and in Sydney, it's also an international destination for Asians—so we can showcase what the Microsoft brand is all about," McAughan said.

A smaller 6,000 sq. ft. store is scheduled to open in Sydney, Australia, in November.

Although this larger store resembles Apple in style and intent, it's a strategy that has worked well for Apple. When the first stores opened in high-traffic, high-rent locations, many skeptics believed the effort would never become profitable and quickly fail.

But Apple even more quickly became the retail operation with the highest sales per square foot in the industry.

For more:
-See this story from The Street
-See this Wired article

Related stories:
Microsoft set to open first Manhattan flagship
Online Apple store gets redesign
Apple opens store in an old Manhattan bank
Apple, Amazon, Lowe's rank in top 10 brands
Apple to shift focus from stores to website

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