Most of the luxury brands on the storefronts of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, one of the world’s most famous shopping thoroughfares, seem to belong together, like the notes of a song.
There are Tiffany & Company, Gucci, Armani, Valentino, Rolex and — cue the sound of a record needle sliding off vinyl — Microsoft?
Yes, the company that brought us Windows and Office is opening a store on the street that brought us $5,000 handbags and $20,000 watches. The doors of the striking new flagship Microsoft Store will open to the public on Monday.
It’s an expensive gamble on a retail strategy that is still a long way from paying off. It does not take a detective to see that the foot traffic is often light at the Microsoft stores the company has opened — the Fifth Avenue store will be its 113th — over the last six years. That’s a contrast with the jamborees usually found over at Apple’s stores, inevitably a few blocks away or across the mall from Microsoft’s electronics boutiques.
“You always want more,” said Dave Porter, the Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of its retail stores. “We try to activate one customer at a time.”