Apple Opens First of 25 Retail Stores for 2001 -- Apple Computer has opened its first retail stores at the busy Tysons Corner mall in McLean, Virginia and the Glendale Galleria near Los Angeles. Apple has pledged to open 25 stores during 2001 in places such as Chicago's North Michigan Avenue, Prince Street in Manhattan's SoHo district, and the gigantic Mall of America in Minnesota. The Apple stores feature the complete Apple product line, as well as third party devices and peripherals like MP3 players, digital cameras, digital camcorders, PDA devices, and other "digital lifestyle" products. The stores also carry hundreds of software titles for professionals, consumers, and education. The Apple stores are organized into five sections, including a Theater demonstrating Apple technology, a Solutions area showing how to make the most of a Mac and integrate it with other digital products, and a "Genius Bar" staffed by knowledgeable people in the local Mac community, ready and willing to answer any questions customers might have. At a news conference announcing its retail plans, Apple clearly indicated it wants these stores to be visible, hip showcases of concrete advantages of Apple technology in high traffic, affluent malls and retail districts. Ron Johnson, Apple's vice president for retail, speculated that the Apple stores would be seeing more than 100,000 people a week during the 2001 holiday season. So far, Apple's venture into retail looks to be doing better than the long-forgotten Apple Cafe: the first two stores served more than 7,700 customers and sold about $600,000 in goods in their first weekend. [GD]
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