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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer opens the company’s Bellevue Square store in November 2011.

With the holiday shopping season wrapped up, Microsoft this morning announced six locations in the U.S. where the company plans to open its first retail stores of 2013. It’s part of a broader effort by the company to increase its retail footprint as a marketing and distribution strategy, to have more direct interaction with consumers.

Here’s the list of the first six stores planned by the company in 2013.

  • The Shops at La Cantera, San Antonio, Texas
  • Dadeland Mall, Miami, Fla.
  • Beachwood Place, Beachwood, Ohio
  • Westfield San Francisco Centre, San Francisco
  • City Creek Center, Salt Lake City
  • St. Louis Galleria, St. Louis

Microsoft says it opened 51 stores in 2012, but those included specialty “popup” stores that were opened for the holidays with a limited selection of products. Those specialty stores will stay open into the new year, and in some cases Microsoft is turning them into permanent full-line retail locations. (The Miami, San Francisco, St. Louis and Salt Lake City stores above are examples.)

The six new permanent stores will bring the company to 37 full retail locations in the U.S. and Canada. (That number doesn’t include specialty stores). The company is also reported to be planning its first European stores in 2013.

Apple had 250 retail stores in the U.S. and 140 internationally as of September.

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