Microsoft adds to Canadian retail strategy with pop-up holiday stores [Updated]

Microsoft StoreWhile Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall might be the only venue in Canada  for a full Microsoft Store experience this year, the software giant has announced plans that will see four other locations get pop-up holiday stores in time for the holiday retail rush.

Microsoft announced holiday stores will open in second Toronto location, one in Alberta, and two in British Columbia.

“The holiday stores continue to offer customers the opportunity to learn new technology skills and get the most out of their Microsoft-enabled devices. Additional locations and details will be available in the coming weeks.”

The company continues the strategy it launched with the selection of Yorkdale as its launch location in Canada of working with higher-end retail locations. Holiday stores will open at:

  • Eaton Centre – Toronto, Ontario
  • Metropolis at Metrotown – Burnaby, BC
  • Oakridge Centre – Vancouver, BC
  • West Edmonton Mall – Edmonton, Alberta
Update: Microsoft Canada confirmed that the four holiday locations will open October 26, about three weeks before the company’s more permanent Yorkdale location is due to open.

The announcement of the four temporary locations follows the formal announcement that the Yorkdale location – first announced at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto – will open by the middle of next month.

At WPC, new Microsoft Canada president Max Long confirmed that Yorkdale was the venue of choice.

“We’re delighted to have the first international Microsoft Store,” Long said. “Yorkdale is the location we chose because it’s top-notch, and because it’s the most profitable mall in North America.”

The company said the store will be close to 7,000 square feet, and will result in 50 new jobs. The store is expected to be open in time for the holiday shopping rush.

The company currently has 20 stores in the United States, with another eight listed as “coming soon,” including another pseudo-international expansion, a location soon to open in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The first location opened in Arizona in 2009.

The stores serve as a showcase for Microsoft’s offerings, including its desktop and phone operating systems on third-party hardware, but also its own Xbox and Kinect gaming platforms. And the Stores are likely to play an even more important role in the near future, as Microsoft has been adamant that the Microsoft Store – and its Web site – will be the only two places to get the Microsoft Surface tablet when it launches.

When I spoke to Long at WPC, he suggested that Microsoft would pull out all the stops to make the launch a big splash, and to make it an event focused on the community at large and not just the store. “This is a significant one for us,” he said.

Updated 9:30 am October 3 to include launch date details for the four Microsoft holiday stores.

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Robert Dutt

Robert Dutt is the founder and head blogger at ChannelBuzz.ca. He has been covering the Canadian solution provider channel community for a variety of publications and Web sites since 1997. 

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