Microsoft on Wednesday announced the first plans for its retail strategy in 2013. The company says it opened 51 stores this year, and it’s already revealed where it will open the first six next year.

The news follows an announcement earlier this month that revealed Microsoft will be extending the majority of its Specialty store (just some products) locations into the New Year, as well as transitioning some of its Specialty stores into permanent Full-line stores (all products). The company has not disclosed the exact timing for when this will happen, and of course the same has happened with the new stores announced today.

Here are the first new locations for 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.

All the stores are located in the US, despite the fact that Microsoft opened its first international stores this year: in Edmonton, Burnaby, Vancouver, and Toronto, Canada. The company did not reveal any additional plans for more international stores, but more are bound to open next year, and we already know this the first UK store is coming to London in March 2013.

The retail push is key for Microsoft as it continues forward in the hardware market. With devices such as the Surface and Xbox 360, it helps to have a bigger and bigger retail presence. Retail stores also play a role in helping the company sell more software, which naturally still generates the larger majority of its revenues and profits. In fact, the only real criticism we have is that Microsoft is expanding its retail presence rather slowly.

See also – Is Microsoft putting its retail software empire at risk with Windows Store? and Ballmer: “We’ve got to beat” Apple anyway, so let’s build stores next to them

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