Microsoft set to open first Manhattan flagship

Microsoft announced it will open its first retail flagship at the end of the month in New York City, followed by its first international flagship in Sydney.

Six years in the making, the stores promise to be a premier shopping destination, according to the Microsoft blog. Elements include interactive technology for consumers to test and an answer desk for technical questions, troubleshooting and device repair. In addition, a community theater space will serve as a teaching spot to demonstrate Microsoft's latest and most popular products. Finally, live and immersive video walls will be displayed throughout the stores.

The New York City flagship will span 22,269 sq. ft. over five floors and will employ associates who speak more than 19 languages. In the heart of the Fifth Avenue shopping district, retail neighbors include Gucci, Armani, Ralph Lauren, Uniqlo and competitor Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), reported The Seattle Times. Also similar to Apple retail locations are the airy spaces throughout the store, heavy wood tables and staffers in bright shirts.

The Sydney location will span 6,000 sq. ft. over two floors, and will include staffers from more than 11 countries and speaking more than 21 languages.

"If you're going to be a high-profile retailer, you're going to need a few high-profile stores," Stephen Baker, who tracks consumer electronics for researcher NPD Group, told The Seattle Times. "You need a couple stores that really stick out compared to the local mall."

The two additions will bring Microsoft's storefront total to 114, including stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

For more:
-See this Microsoft blog
-See this The Seattle Times article

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Apple opens store in an old Manhattan bank
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Apple to shift focus from stores to website
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