Microsoft retail stores to hit Europe

RETAIL STORES owned and operated by Microsoft are on the way to major European cities such as London – and the format-holder has confirmed to MCV it will be selling Xbox 360 games, hardware and PC titles through the new outlets.

Last week, the firm announced plans to open a slew of its own official stores headed by David Porter, a 25-year veteran of Wal-Mart.

A Microsoft spokesperson told MCV that the product range at the stores certainly will include Microsoft’s own software and hardware”. The move mirrors rival Apple’s retail play during 2001 – the firm responsible for iPod has over 200 stores worldwide, 20 of them in the UK.

Nintendo has owned stores in Times Square, New York and Japan. Sony, meanwhile, operates a number of Sony Centres around the world.

Porter and his newly created retail stores team will drive the planning and timing of store locations,” our Redmond-based source added.

Our target is a small number of high profile experience stores in a few major cities around the world.

Our main objective is to change the buying experience for consumers around the world – to show and demonstrate Microsoft’s key consumer products in a deeper and more meaningful way, making it more simple and easy for consumers to purchase PCs and devices that truly meet their specific needs.”

While the move is sure to ruffle some retail feathers, Microsoft says its trade relationships will benefit: The partnerships we have today with retailers around the world will continue to be an important focus area for the company and will benefit from these efforts. One of the goals of opening Microsoft stores is to better engage with consumers and gain a better understanding of the consumer PC and device purchase experience. We expect to apply these learnings across our existing retail relationships as well as in our own stores.”

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