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Wednesday, February 04, 2009, 07:20 pm PT (10:20 pm ET)

Apple retail update: Milan, Ottawa, Washington DC, more

In spite of the economy forcing a more cautious approach to store openings, Apple is off to a strong start for its 2009 retail efforts with recruitment for a Milan, Italy store and locations in progress for the North American capital cities of Ottawa, Canada and Washington, DC.

While a global recession is contributing to Apple's plans to open just 25 new stores throughout the year, the emphasis is now on major cities in existing markets that, as of yet, don't have any official Apple points of sale.

One of the first likely to make its appearance is a Milan store, which Italian site Macitynet confirmed after discovering job postings for the location on Apple's recruitment pages. While an opening date isn't set, the store is expected before the end of 2009 and would be Apple's second in the southern European country after its Rome shop in the Roma Est mall.

Other international debuts are for countries that already have a significantly wider Apple retail presence but which still have conspicuous gaps. Notably, ifoAppleStore says it has identified Ottawa as the next Canadian city to get its first Apple store. A location is reportedly due to open by late summer in the capital's four-storey Rideau Centre mall, which is located in the downtown core and just a few minutes' walk from Parliament Hill.

AppleInsider can confirm that Apple has posted job listings for the city, which would be the first Ontario city outside of the greater Toronto area to have an Apple store.

And while no official posts confirm it, ifo also says the long-delayed Brighton, UK store is due to open in the same general timespan as Ottawa, with the storefront appearing at Churchill Square.

Additional UK rumblings have also surfaced which hint that the planned three-storey Apple store in London's Covent Garden district should begin construction soon; previous reports have pegged it for an early 2010 opening.

Back home, Apple is also believed closer to getting approval for construction of its store in the Georgetown area of Washington, DC. Although the company's designs have been frequently rejected by the Old Georgetown Board for clashing with local architecture, a fourth proposal is being submitted to the board on Thursday that resembles its first but reduces the amount of front glass to be more in keeping with the mostly brick buildings along Wisconsin Avenue.

Washington's mayoral office has vowed not to let the tentative store slip out of the city's hands and says it will "step in" to help strike a compromise and revitalize the shopping district.

More expansion is also slated for the general area, AppleInsider has learned. Apple has signed a lease and received construction permits for a store in Reston, Virginia — about half an hour West of Washington. The location would replace an Eddie Bauer store in Reston Town Center, between the nearby Hyatt hotel and Library Street. When this store would open isn't known.