It has been rumored for weeks, but today we get an official confirmation from David Porter, corporate vice president for Microsoft retail stores that the Redmond software company will in fact open its first flagship Microsoft Store right in Manhattan just steps away from the Museum of Modern Art at 677 Fifth Ave.
Microsoft’s Fifth Avenue store has been five years in the making, Microsoft executives said. The company’s NYC store is slated to replace the luxury fashion brand Fendi in the ritzy neighborhood surrounded by luxury brands such as Rolex, Abercrombie & Fitch and Prada to name a few.
Mr. Porter tells The Wall Street Journal “As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience. This is a goal we’ve had since day one—we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it.”
Microsoft aims to make the flagship NYC location “much more than just a Microsoft Store,” according to the executive, who adds that the new store will feature “experiential space” for the company to engage its customers but he did not elaborate further. We will just have to wait and see.
Microsoft is currently playing catch up as its main competitor Apple got a head start in the retail world with exclusive locations around the globe. Since 2009, Microsoft has been aggressively pushing to widen its retail presence as the company has opened 104 physical retail stores in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico with plans to open 10 more stores just before the holiday season. The software giant has also opened mini-stores inside of more than 600 Best Buy locations.
Having a flagship store in such a location is very important for Microsoft, it will serve as the brand’s face, and it has the power to change the perception of the company if the retail experience is executed well. This is a step in the right direction for the company, and continuing this trend in major European cities is crucial for bringing a positive perception for the Microsoft brand.
Source: The Wall Street Journal Image: Cassandra Giraldo for The Wall Street Journal