The 2011 Apple store grand opening season has officially kicked off with the confirmation of several future international stores, including several in Italy that will open by mid-year. The first quarter of each year is traditionally quiet for new store openings, but tips and other sources provide hints of a busy second half of the year. A previously-unknown new store in Florence (Italy) has been confirmed, along with a second store in Milan (Italy). As first reported by the Apple Lounge, the exact location of both stores is unknown, leading to speculation they’ll be located along a city street and not within a shopping mall. A tipster previously said a store will also open in Bologna (Italy), but again the location isn’t known. In France, a Strasbourg store should open soon (unknown location), while a Lyon store was expected to open by last September. In Germany, a new store in Dresden is on schedule for a May opening. Spain will see its first store in Valencia and a second in Barcelona. A confirmed store in Quebec City (Canada) is also scheduled to open soon (unknown location). The first store in Hong Kong and the third in Shanghai (China) is confirmed, but progress on construction and hiring on both isn’t known. In the world of rumors, Edinburgh (Scotland) and Amsterdam (Netherlands) top the list. Lastly, U.S. stores are confirmed for Berkeley (N. Calif.), and hinted for downtown Seattle (Wash.), Brooklyn (NY), Murray (Utah) and Houston (Tex.).
The Retail store team devotes the first four months of each year to store planning and construction, with few grand openings. Store openings increase in May, hit a peak in September, and continue to be substantial in October and November before the Christmas holiday. Fewer store openings occur in December. On average, nearly 75 percent of new stores open in the second half of each year, with about one-half opening in the last four months of each year.E-mail this story