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Microsoft confirms flagship store coming to Fifth Avenue

Microsoft has confirmed it’s gearing up to open a flagship retail store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

David Porter, the company’s VP for retail stores, told the Wall Street Journal the new site would “serve as the centerpeice” of its Microsoft Stores experience, though declined to offer details on exactly when it will open. The location, at 677 Fifth Avenue, is currently occupied by Italian luxury fashion house Fendi.

Rumors that Microsoft was planning such a move first surfaced a couple of months ago, though the computer colossus had refused to offer any confirmation until now.

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Porter told the Journal it’d taken years to find the right location for its forthcoming flagship store, which happens to be a few blocks from Apple’s iconic ‘glass box’ premises, also on Fifth Avenue.

The new store could mark the beginning of a more concerted push into brick-and-mortar retail for the Redmond-based company, an area that has proved hugely lucrative for Apple since it opened its first site in California back in 2001.

While the iPhone maker now has more than 250 stores across the US and around 430 worldwide, Microsoft has been slower to expand its retail footprint, with around 100 stores open to customers across the US and Canada. The company’s only Manhattan presence currently comes in the form of a smaller ‘specialty’ store in Columbus Circle, whereas its Fifth Avenue location will cover much more floorspace.

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Porter promised the new store would offer “much more” than your regular Microsoft Store, though few details were offered on what exactly consumers can expect when they walk through the doors. The retail chief spoke of an “experiential space,” for example, though this could just be a fancy term for a corner where visitors can try out its range of tech products.

Satya Nadella, who took over as Microsoft CEO in February, said in the spring that the company planned to expand its retail presence this year.

“The goal of our retail business is to support our consumer business,” Nadella said, adding, “As long as it makes sense for us to expand, economically, we will.”