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Microsoft store in SouthPark Mall opens Saturday

Microsoft will open its SouthPark retail store on Saturday – its first full-scale store in Charlotte and its second in North Carolina.

The 2,261-square-foot store, in SouthPark’s Nordstrom wing, will be Microsoft’s 104th retail location. The company has had a kiosk in SouthPark mall for years, but the fully-enclosed retail store will be more like Microsoft’s competitor and forerunner in the retail space, Apple stores.

The first 1,500 people in line for Saturday’s 10:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday will receive a pair of passes to pop singer Kelly Clarkson’s concert at nearby Symphony Park at 4 p.m. Sunday. They’ll also be entered to win one of 100 meet-and-greet opportunities with the singer.

Microsoft has been investing heavily in its retail strategy, with plans to open 10 more stores before Black Friday and build a Fifth Avenue flagship in New York City.

The Streets at SouthPoint in Durham has North Carolina’s only other Microsoft retail store.

Jonathan Adashek, Microsoft’s general manager for communications strategy, said the Charlotte store would offer a “curated selection” of devices made by Microsoft and other hardware makers, including laptops, Xboxes, computers, Windows phones and Surface tablets. He said the store would also emphasize community involvement and events, with free computer classes, videogame tournaments and meeting space.

The store opening comes as competition heats up in the market for mobile devices. Apple, facing softening sales growth for tablets, freshened its line of iPads on Thursday, launching an iPad Air 2 that’s thinner than ever. And on Wednesday, Google introduced a new tablet – the Nexus 9 – that has an optional keyboard attachment. The Washington Post contributed to this story.

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