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Report: Google To Open U.S. Retail Stores This Year

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Google Chrome Zone section of PC World on London's Tottenham Court Road.
(Credit: CNET Crave U.K.)

Google Chrome Zone section of PC World on London’s Tottenham Court Road.
(Credit: CNET Crave U.K.)

(CNET) – Google plans to open its own retail stores across the United States, according to a new report, giving the increasingly hardware-focused company a place to show off its growing number of physical products.

Citing “an extremely reliable source,” 9to5Google says the company “hopes to have the first flagship Google Stores open for the holidays in major metropolitan areas.”

The report says Google accelerated plans to build physical stores because customers are unlikely to buy expensive hardware, including the upcoming Google Glass, without first having a chance to try it for free.

Google already has set up Chrome mini-stores inside U.S. Best Buy locations and electronic retailers in the United Kingdom. From the start, those stores have prompted speculation that Google will open a full-scale retail presence. Google Stores could help bolster the company’s brand image, showcase new products, and win over Android skeptics.

Still, Google is on the record denying any move into retail. In December, Google Shopping head Sameer Samat told All Things D that the company “had no aspirations to open a store.”

“We aren’t planning on being a retailer,” he said. “We don’t view being a retailer right now as the right decision.”

CNET has contacted Google for comment and will update this post if we hear back.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Interactive, Inc. and CNET, a CBS-owned company. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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