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Friday, November 19, 2004, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Apple confirms retail expansion into Canada

Apple's first Canadian retail store is slated to open in 2005, the company has confirmed.

Apple Computer on Friday officially confirmed plans to expand its retail initiative into Canada, AppleInsider has learned.

In a message to employees and members of the Canadian Apple reseller channel, the company said, "Apple Canada is announcing today that an Apple Branded Retail Store location will be opening in Toronto, mid year 2005."

"Apple currently has ninety-six retail stores in the US, two in Japan, and one opening in London, England this weekend. The stores have been incredibly popular, attracting more than fifty million visitors since the first store was opened in May of 2001."

Apple further stated that its stores "provide great hands-on experience for customers" and that it welcomes the store to Canada as a great complement the existing distribution channels.

AppleInsider was first to report on Apple's plans to enter the Canadian retail market earlier this year. A subsequent AppleInsider report cited internal company documents that showed Apple had initially planned to open up to four retail stores in Canada by the end of the 2004 calendar year, but these plans were apparently pushed back.

Last month, AppleInsider confirmed that the first batch of Canadian Apple stores will begin appearing in shopping malls in and around the Ontario area in 2005. Sources pointed to a leasing agreement between Apple and the Yorkdale Shopping Center located in Toronto, which was said to be near final. Representatives for the Yorkdale Shopping Center later positively confirmed that an Apple store was coming to the mall.

Sources also recently confirmed that the forthcoming Vaughan Mills Mall—Canada's first regional mall since 1990—would also host Apple as one of its tenants.

In Friday's e-mail message announcing the expansion into Canada, Apple did not specify a precise location for the first store, stating only that it would arrive in Toronto (Ontario) by mid-2005.