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Sony closing flagship US PlayStation store

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 19 – Sony announced on Wednesday it will close its US flagship PlayStation store in downtown San Francisco.

The news comes just weeks after the Japanese electronics giant announced it is slashing 16,000 jobs and closing plants as the company braces for a record operating loss of 260 billion yen (2.77 billion dollars) in the full financial year to March.

Sony said it will not renew its lease for the PlayStation Store in the Metreon retail center in San Francisco when it expires on June 16.

"While we are always looking at new avenues for additional retail exposure and space, we felt it best not to continue with a dedicated PlayStation Store at the Metreon at this time," Sony spokeswoman Liz Archibald said.

"We are actively looking at other opportunities to offer PlayStation products through direct retail channels."

The PlayStation store is devoted exclusively to Sony\’s videogame hardware and software and is the only one of its kind in the United States.

Sony is also closing a Style store devoted to its products in the Metreon.

Sony reportedly spent 85 million dollars building the 300,000-square-foot shopping center that opened a decade ago in the heart of San Francisco.

Sony stores are the main shops in the center, which also features restaurants and a multi-screen movie theater.

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The Westfield Group bought the Metreon from Sony three years ago for an undisclosed price.

Sony\’s rival Microsoft, which makes XBox 360 videogame consoles, this month hired a former Wal-Mart executive to open stores specializing in the software giant\’s products.

The first order of business for David Porter, whose resume includes 25 years working at Wal-Mart, will be to map out where and when to open Microsoft stores and how they will be designed.

Microsoft appears poised to follow in the footsteps of rival Apple, which has seen revenues and profile boosted by a flourishing chain of Apple stores it started about eight years ago.

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