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ifoAppleStore (via TechCrunch) reports that Apple is building a new “big, visually stunning” flagship store in Palo Alto – in the Stanford shopping center, close to the store Microsoft opened last year.

This store design was completed in 2011 by Apple’s long-time architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. It was approved by Steve Jobs about six months before Tim Cook assumed the position of CEO in August of that year. It took another year to refine the design and obtain building approvals. Demolition on the former building began late last year.

If you’re keen to get a preview of what Apple has planned for its retail stores, Palo Alto is reputedly the place to be … 

We’re told that the company tests its retail products at the Stanford Shopping Center and University Avenue locations; when the company began offering self checkout, the engineers who worked on the project were in those stores testing the new systems. This new flagship location offers enormous space for testing new retail products, and makes the nearby Microsoft store an afterthought at best. (TechCrunch)

The store doesn’t look like much yet…

stanford2_peek_2 stanford2_peek_1

…but the entire front of the store will take the form of a glass box, with a roof that will appear to be floating above it. Apple’s existing Palo Alto store moved location to University Avenue in October last year.

As I’ve mentioned before, Apple’s decision to open its own retail stores was viewed as a risky gamble when the company opened its first store in 2001. Its US stores are now the most profitable retail outlets in the world, earning over $6,000 per square foot each year – beating even Tiffany and Harrods. In his recent keynote at WWDC, Tim Cook reported that the stores now see a million visitors a day across the 407 stores in 14 countries.

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