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Wednesday, February 25, 2004, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Apple international retail stores to hit Canada

The next round of Apple's international retail store experiment is set to touchdown in Canada, according to sources with ties to the company's retail division.

Plans to launch at least two stores in the Toronto, Ontario area are said to be underway, with Apple representatives actively seeking additional locations in and outside of the province.

One rumored location is the Yorkdale Shopping Center, a 1.6-million-square-foot venue which is home to other flagship outlets such as the Sony Store. The mall ranks as third largest shopping centre in Canada, and is currently undergoing expansion in the former Sear's/Eaton's location.

According to sources, Apple reps recently met with Canadian realtors to secure a store-front in mall's extension. Representatives from the Yorkdale Shopping Center could not confirm plans for an Apple store, stating only that the mall is under expansion and several new retail outlets were set to arrive.

Meanwhile, the computer maker has also begun pursuit of a prime location in Toronto's Eaton Centre, sources said. Toronto's top tourist attraction, the Eaton Centre is a 3-million-square-ft building with more than 300 stores and services, including Eaton's, Canada's classic department store.

Prior to the most recent reports, Apple had expressed interest in opening a location at Vaughan Mills mall, which is currently under construction right outside of Toronto. Vaughan Mills officials failed to return inquiries for comment, though the Mall is not scheduled to open until the Fall of 2004.