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Thursday, October 28, 2004, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

Apple retail to expand into Canada in 2005

Canadians seeking a local Apple-branded retail store may have to look no further than Toronto in the coming months.

Sources tell AppleInsider that Apple Computer is close to inking a deal with realtors that would bring Canada its first Apple retail store, extending the company's retail presence to yet another country.

Canada would be the fourth country in which Apple would have a retail presence. Presently, Apple has more than 90 stores across the US, two stores in Japan, and the UK, where it is expected to open first store in November and another early next year.

The first batch of stores will begin appearing in shopping malls in and around the Ontario area.

According to sources, Apple in the final stages of a leasing agreement with the Yorkdale Shopping Center located in Toronto. The 1.6-million-square-foot shopping venue is home to other major retail outlets such as the Sony Store. It is the third largest shopping centre in Canada.

Speaking to AppleInsider, representatives for the shopping center recently confirmed plans to host an Apple store by mid-2005, but declined to provide any specific information. Related parties also acknowledged that an agreement was pending, but would not comment further, citing non-disclosure agreements.

The Yorkdale Shopping Center is undergoing expansion in its former Sears/Eatons' location. Previous reports had indicated that Apple was looking to secure a storefront in the newly created addition, but new information suggests that Apple may renovate an existing location.

Sources have also confirmed that the forthcoming Vaughan Mills Mall—Canada's first regional mall since 1990—will also host Apple as one of its tenants. The mall, which was previously slated to open in the Fall of 2004, remains under construction just outside of Toronto. Nearly one-quarter of Canada's population lives within 60 miles of the shopping location and the surrounding area has a population of more than 4 million.

Rumors of an Apple retail expansion into Canada began gaining momentum earlier this year. Internal company documents and retail roll-out schedules have since confirmed that up to four retail stores were previously slated to open in Canada by the end of the 2004 calendar year.