As Apple’s former retail chief Ron Johnson sets its sights on re-inventing the shopping experience at the J.C. Penney department stores and the search for his replacement continues, the Cupertino, California-headquartered gadget designer isn’t resting on its laurels. Future plans call for continuation of an aggressive retail expansion that includes 40 new stores during fiscal 2012, thirty of them outside the United States.

With holidays just around the corner, third-party retailers such as Best Buy are already luring would-be shoppers with attractive discounts on Apple gear. But people flock to the Apple Stores for the shopping experience, not price. Thank God Apple is putting finishing touches on three new stores scheduled to open in time for Black Friday, officially the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States.

The seamless glass cube at New York’s Fifth Avenue is already operational and tomorrow will likely bring us the official announcement of the grandiose new store at the massive Grand Central station. 9to5Mac heard that Apple will be filling the store with stock and applying the finishing touches this week, putting the actual opening of the store on Black Friday or shortly thereafter. On Friday, Apple will also re-open the redesigned Knox Street store in Dallas and launch a new store in a charming little tourist town in Spain.

Grand Central – New York (United States) – We reported on this breathtaking store (here, here, here and here) right in the heart of Grand Central Terminal, a landmark terminal station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. It’ll be the world’s largest store (23,000 square feet) as Apple becomes part of Grand Central Terminal. It’ll feature free WiFi, a long balcony and elevator lobby, with perks such as a nearby Shake Shack fast food restaurant.

Apple paid for the elevator and coughed up a cool $1.1 million to rent space from Charlie Palmer’s Metrazur restaurant. Apple fans will enjoy spacious interior sporting impossibly high ceiling (hey, it’s a store inside a terminal after all). The store’s location is bound to yield some crazy foot traffic numbers as 750,000 people pass daily and over 1,000,000 people during the holidays. Connection-wise, kids from Long Island and Jersey couldn’t have asked for a better place to shop: They can simply take the 1 and 2 and then the shuttle to check out newest shiny gadgets from Apple.

La Cañada - Marbella (Spain) – Apple’s Spanish retail site lists the new La Cañada store as opening this Friday, November 25, at 10am local time. Apple built its fourth Spain store inside the Centro Comercial La Cañada mall in Marbella. It’s along the Costa del Sol in Andalusia, which comprises the coastal towns and communities along the Mediterranean coastline of Spain’s Málaga province. Located some 65 miles from the Straits of Gibraltar and with population of approximately 135,000 as of 2010, this little town is frequented by foreign tourists, making it the perfect Mediterranean spot for an Apple store .

According to ifoAppleStore, Apple should occupy the former Habitat space in the La Cañada mall, which also features a large supermarket, over 150 smaller shops, a bowling alley, fitness gym and multi-screen cinema. The company is allegedly prepping to open a store in Valencia and another outlet in Barcelona. In addition to the upcoming La Cañada store, the remaining three Apple outlets in the country are the Parquesur and Xanadú stores in Madrid (the former opened August 20) and the La Maquinista store in Barcelona.

Check out past the break for information on the redesigned Knox Street store in Dallas.


Facade of the old Knox Street store.

Knox Street – Dallas (United States) – Apple closed down its store at 3101 Knox Street in Highland Park, Dallas in January. Remember, this store was a scene to a robbery that took place last year. The company moved the Knox Street store to a nearby space in an outdoor mall and added the adjacent 3,300 square foot retail space. The trademark buff-colored brick façade is a goner. After months of renovation, the new and larger store – “redesigned and better than ever”, per Apple’s email notice – is set to re-open this Friday, November 25 at 8am.

According to ifoAppleStore, “the store will feature the now-standard glass storefront, framed by masonry and outlined by a thin strip of metal, and a side wall of stone”. The 7,000 square feet of retail space will include a Briefing Room for business customers.

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