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Friday, October 19, 2007, 06:50 am PT (09:50 am ET)

Apple retail update: 200th store, more to follow

October 26th will mark more than just the release of Mac OS X Leopard: the day will signal the launch of Apple's 200th store and a new wave of retail openings.

ifo Apple Store has word that Gilbert, Arizona will be home to the symbolic opening at the town's SanTan Village mall.

The location starts business slightly over six years after Apple first began its retail initiative at its Tysons Corner, Virginia location. The Mac maker has since opened a new store an average of nearly every twelve days since, cracking $100 million in 16 months and the $1 billion threshold in just four years, rivaling the same record Old Navy set for a retail opening during the 1990s.

Signs show, however, that the Cupertino firm is far from finished and plans to expand into unfamiliar territory within the next two years.

Besides its first stores in the major urban centers Brooklyn and Washington, DC, Apple is reported to be preparing a Baton Rouge store that would be the first in Louisiana and the only official retail presence for the company along the coastline area between Florida and Texas.

The commitment to stores outside of the US will also be renewed in the near future, according to reports. Vancouver, British Columbia is said to be home to the first known Canadian Apple store West of Ontario in 2009, when finished renovations to the Pacific Centre Mall will allow Apple to set up shop before the end of that year.

Apple is also preparing to break new ground in Australia, says the Sydney Morning Herald. The paper claims that construction has begun on a three-story, 14,370 square foot flagship store at the intersection of King and George that will include a large glass facade and should be ready by mid-2008. A Melbourne store is also said to be in the works and would be teamed up with store-within-a-store project in Myer retail outlets to improve Apple's standing in both cities as well as Brisbane.

British residents should also be treated to at least one major expansion, with Cambridge and its abundant university population receiving an Apple store when the Grand Arcade mall opens in March of next year.

An architectural sketch of the new Apple store in Sydney's George Street.

An architectural sketch of the new Apple store on Sydney's George Street.