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Monday, January 10, 2005, 02:00 pm PT (05:00 pm ET)

Apple to open retail stores in Australia

Apple this year will heat up its retail presence in the land of Oz, offering its own stores while enlisting help from several existing retailers.

Apple Computer in 2005 will expand its retail presence onto the island of Australia, according to reports from multiple sources.

The company plans to open at least two stores initially, one in Sydney and a second in Melbourne. It's unclear if either location will represent an Apple flagship location, though sources say Sydney would be the likely candidate for the larger of the two stores.

In 2003, Apple Australia began marketing its computers through David Jones retail stores — a pilot program that began with five stores and has since grown to six. Sources say Apple is so pleased with the results of the David Jones pilot that it will be expanding the program across nearly all of the retailer's 35 locations during the next 12 months.

Furthermore, sources say that Myer, a similar Australian retail chain, will also roll out Apple stands this year. Myer will join David Jones and Domayne, another Australian retailer featuring Apple boutiques, or stores-within-a-store.

In related news, Apple has scheduled an Australia-based Macworld Event that will take place at 3:30pm on January 12, 2005 at the Westin Hotel in Sydney (only hours after chief executive Steve Jobs concludes his Tuesday keynote). The event is open to Apple business partners only, and may contain announcements specific to the company's Australian business model.