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Apple opens 5 new stores in big retail push

Apple on Saturday opened five new retail stores around the world, including one in Research in Motion's hometown of Waterloo, Ontario, and the company's first location in Alaska.

The Cupertino, Calif., company said during a quarterly earnings call in July that it plans to open 30 new retail stores during the third quarter, which ends in September. Five of those stores opened their doors on Saturday ahead of the back-to-school season.

Waterloo, Ontario

The newly opened Apple Store in the Conestoga Mall in Waterloo marks Apple's 20th store in Canada. This location in particular has drawn media attention because it is located just minutes from the headquarters of rival handset maker RIM.

Waterloo has been billed as a strategic area for Apple because its demographic tends to "skew younger, more educated, have more disposable income and are generally more tech savvy than many other regions in Canada." The region also has a combined total of 70,000 students from nearby Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo and Conestoga College.

Canadian Mac site posted a video of the store's opening, which saw more than a hundred customers waiting in line ahead of the official opening.

After being passed by Apple last year in terms of smartphone sales, RIM has floundered in the smartphone and tablet industry. The company recently announced layoffs of 2,000 employees, or almost 11 percent of its workforce.

Analysts have called RIM a "one-trick pony" with a broken trick, projecting a bleak outlook for the company.

Anchorage, Alaska

Apple also opened up its first retail store in Alaska at the 5th Avenue Mall in Anchorage on Saturday, as noted by the Anchorage Daily News.

The first customers arrived at at 5 a.m. and were let into the mall an hour later. One customer slept overnight at a children's clothing store next door in anticipation of the launch. By 10 a.m., the line outside the store was roughly 100 yards long. Mall officials said Apple had counted about 1,000 people at the store within an hour of opening.

Anchorage Apple Store

Murray, Utah

Utah saw its second Apple store arrive on Saturday at the Fashion Place Mall in Murray. According to the Daily Utah Chronicle, Apple store staff applauded and cheered for more than 20 minutes as customers entered the store after doors opened at 10 a.m.

“We couldn’t be more excited to open another Apple store in Murray,” said Miles Dunford, store leader for Utah's first Apple Store at The Gateway in Salt Lake City.

Murray Apple Store
Credit: Richard Payson

“This is amazing," said Kenna Warner, the owner of a restaurant in the mall. “It’s like The Beatles have arrived.”

Cheltenham, Australia

The new Apple Store at Melbourne's Westfield Southland shopping center opened its doors on Saturday with about 200 eager fans lined up outside, Macworld reports.

The new store is the 12th location for the company in Australia and the third Apple Store to open up in Melbourne.

Southland Apple Store

Florence, Italy

Apple opened its sixth Italian retail store in the I Gigli mall in Campi Bisenzio, Florence. As reported by setteB.IT (via Google Translate), the opening drew a sizable crowd. Nearby shops were reportedly "amazed" by the interest generated by Apple's opening.