Microsoft has clearly decided that retail is a big part of its future.
As a move forward into that future, tech titan Microsoft will open a giant five-story retail store in the heart of the Manhattan shopping district next month.
The new Manhattan Microsoft Store will open on October 26th, the firm announced on Wednesday. This new flagship retail location will be followed in November by another large retail out let in Sydney, the first ex-North America location for Microsoft’s retail division.
The Manhattan store, which Microsoft is calling its flagship location, is located on Fifth Avenue, in the middle of one of the most high-profile and expensive shopping districts in the country.
More on the new Manhattan Microsoft Store
Microsoft’s new Big Apple store will be its largest retail facility at 22,269 square feet. Microsoft’s University Village store in Seattle, for example, is only around 4,200 square feet.
Retail industry analysts point out that prime retail space on New York’s Fifth Avenue typically costs thousands of dollars per square foot, meaning the lease likely runs in the tens of millions of dollars a year. The firm would not comment on the lease costs for the new store.
Of note, the two new flagship locations will bring the firm’s store count to 114, counting retail outposts in Canada and Puerto Rico.
Microsoft’s retail stores drew immediate comparison’s to Apple’s retail outlets when they first opened almost six years ago. The retail locations feature open spaces, wood tables and lighted signage, and the staff all wear matching shirts. The stores, like Apple stores, prominently feature a customer support desk.
The retail division at the Windows-maker is headed up by ex-Wal-Mart exec David Porter, and Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner is also a former exec with Wal-Mart. A spokeswoman refused to discuss whether the retail division was currently profitable or not.
In the stores, Microsoft is largely selling its own products, including all of its software products, hardware such as the Surface personal computing devices and Xbox gaming console, and a range of computers, phones and accessories produced by a number of third-party manufacturers.