First pics of Microsoft’s Holiday Stores show up for the Galleria mall in St. Louis

They may be small, but they're pretty

Although Microsoft has been opening quite a few full-fledged retail Stores over the past few months, the last time we counted there are still less than 30 nationwide. Microsoft’s solution for this, albeit temporary, is to open mini “Holiday Stores” in malls and shops across the country.

While we don’t know the range for these little popups meaning if some will be big and some tiny, we do know they will look quite nice. Case in point are these two photos from the Galleria mall in St. Louis, where we can see two Microsoft kiosks being prepped for the 26th.

The Surface RT tablet appears to be the sole focus

Although this is a far cry from a proper Microsoft Store, we can see these being very effective for pushing that new Surface RT tablet, which looks to be the main focus of this one setup. We don't know if these are the only kiosks being setup or maybe if this is just a front for something larger within the mall, but it's a start.

We presume an area like New York City will get something a bit more extravagant or at least it will sell a few more items. We’ll keep an eye out for any developments and if you see something in your area, feel free to pass it on.

Thanks, Kyle L., for the pics!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • WTH is this? I hope they make something more extravagant. Put some windows phones in display too. This is puny. Still better than nothing though. If this is it then why not do this in every mall in NA?
  • I like the kiosk designs. Nice and sleek.
  • Considering the fact that most kiosks are glorified carts, this is lovely and effective.
  • Yep!
  • It's a popup store. Unless you are going to run down malls you aren't going to get in store realestate in a mall for a short period of time.
  • These aren't full Microsoft stores bud. They are just throwing them up for the holiday season to get some extra advertising out for the Surface. They don't have enough Microsoft stores up at the moment and every little bit helps, so relax.
  • Why only 30 locations? If this is what it'll be. How many surface tablets can a kiosk like this sell? If they put ads all over the mall pointing to this kiosk then ok. But if not then this seriously is bad.
  • Did you read the article. The 30 was referring to the number of existing MS stores. Also never underestimate the power of a kiosk as long as it's manned by at least one good salesman.
  • "Also never underestimate the power of a kiosk as long as it's manned by at least one good salesman"
    Sorry but if you're a salesman and you're manning a kiosk you've alreay lost (unless you're still in high school). If this is what Microsoft meant by pop-up they have truly failed.
  • Seriously. You're an Apple fan that trolls Windows sites, and you're calling kiosk salesman failures. Better look in the mirror.
  • A job is a job is a job. Kiosks are very effective at what they do, which is snapping up impulsive buyers and people who might not otherwise make it into a Microsoft store (especially women). If kiosks weren't useful, they wouldn't have lasted as long as they do in a places with rent as high as a mall. Please stop trolling.
  • In our mall (one of the ones which are actually getting a pop-up store), signage for permanent stores is mostly not sticking out into the aisle, which means you only see it when you stand in front of the store. A pop-up store in the middle of the aisle will actually be much more visible.
  • Is it going to stay till Christmas
  • "Holiday kiosk"
  • Right in the middle of the mall. Very cool.
  • +1.  Great exposure if nothing else.
  • This is the big "pop-up store" that everyone was making a big deal about?  I was thinking more of just a smaller retail location, à la Radio Shack or The Source.  How much stock can they even fit into that thing?  And if it's that small, I can't see why they only have them in 3 Canadian locations, there's not even a Montréal store, even though they're the 2nd largest city in Canada.  If this is it, might as well put them in all cities with metro populations over 500k.
  • Wow. People are so negative. Every time an article is posted, I immediately see 20 people talking about "this is stupid", this is not enough", "I'm not satisfied", "Daniel, you used the word their when you should have said they're..." lol. I hate having to cringe through all the bitching everytime I click comments.
  • You yourself are bitching.  Irony is everywhere!
  • You make a salient point...
  • I know what you meant, though. I agree that we should all try to be more positive. Perhaps we're all just getting antsy waiting forever for WP8!
  • Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Office 2012, with all of those apps involved... I think we're antsy for more than just WP8, I'm also looking folward to Halo 4, but that may just be me lol.
  • Generally people don't need to comment unless they have something to add to the conversation... Quite often this is negative. We can't all come in and just say "awesome" :P
  • This is sick!
  • The they're vs. their vs. there thing it totally my fault. I think it stems from the idiocy that is most of the internet, and I know Mr. Rubino here is better than that! As much negativity as you see online, the people with positive things to say tend to comment much less often. So while it is indeed annoying, I have a feeling that the vast majority of people are THINKING positive, which is nuff for me!
  • they're small, but they are effective at getting much more foot traffic than a traditional store since they're in the walkway. think of how much attention the cell phone provider kiosks can grab with the right sales staff.
    people also seem to be missing the point of the surface, it's not something they are planning to sell in ipad quantities (though i'm sure they wouldn't mind if they did) but are rather something used to promote windows 8 and to set the bar for hardware that OEM's are going to put out.
    that being said, for a fairly simple layout and modest size, they really could have put these in more places. maybe they don't want to spread their stock too thin.
  • Excellent points
  • Its like really fancy promotion/commercial. Think of all the people walking by not planing, and not buying at the moment. Later when they do, its going to be interesting to se if that tile smacked right in to there brain.
  • I do wish there was phone promotions as well, but overall looks great
  • In some ways, though that's obviously not its primary purpose, Windows 8 is one big promotion of Windows Phone. I think Windows 8 will be much more important for Windows Phone than Windows Phone 8.
  • Why are people being negative?
    Do people not understand the risk that Microsoft is taking this month forward.  They are trying to change their entire identity. 
    I am positive that Microsoft has a back-up plan if this consumer frinedly outlook doesn't workout, but none the less they are spending ridiculous amounts of cash to do it.
    they are trying to get in the public eye and this will be cheap and effective ways to promote windows 8 and also get some sales from random consumers.
  • This is looking great. Like a grab and go type experience. As far as inventory goes many small kiosks have inventory in another location in the mall as a storage room. Sometimes shared with other kiosks. So maybe just caged up. As much as I would say put phones here. I don't want them to. There are plenty of cell phones kiosks that's will be selling WP8 so I can see this focus on the surface as a great thing. I'm all about the ecosystem, the better the surface does, the better chance WP8 and W8 do all at the same time.
  • Excellent point. Windows 8 success now = Windows Phone 8 success later. People buy what they're familliar with, so getting people familliar with "metro" is a good thing no matter how you look at it.
  • Brilliant idea a small shop in high traffic areas the goal is for people to get a hands on feeling for both Windows 8 PC and WIndows Phone 8 devices. Im sure Microsoft will add WP8's to this if not it's a huge mistake
  • Not a huge mistake at all. Microsoft needs focus, not to spread themselves thin. If Windows 8 is a success then Windows Phone will be a success later because its a familliar UI and people buy what they're familliar with. Microsoft is in this for the long haul not the quick buck.
  • I sent these pictures in and it is in the busiest part of the mall right where Santa and the Xmas tree will eventually be. It's definitely the only place Microsoft will be setting up shop though. I can't see them selling phones there, but there are AT&T and T-mobile stores already at the mall...
  • Quite a scoop!  I assume the thing was unmanned?
  • Yeah, there was no one around the whole time I was there taking pictures and emailing the pics to WPCentral.  It's a great spot and I can't wait to stop by after work on the 26th.  I'll send some more pictures then, hopefully showing knowledgable staff and maybe even a few eager customers.
  • No, but they could display WP8s for people to play with and then direct customers to a particular Carriers kiosk (except for Sprint that is) if they have interest. Microsoft is not doing this to make a margin on a contract. This is to spread the word and put people in front of working devices.
  • Love it. Hopefully they put it in the malls near me. The Florida Mall has the MS store but it's also full of tourists and I'd prefer not to have to compete with them for a Surface.
  • I don't know about you, but when I go on vacation I dont usually buy the latest gadget while I'm there.
  • Me neither, but the Florida Mall has a ton of tourists at pretty much all times and a huge chunk are from out of the country. The people from Europe especially and Japan can and do snap up a ton of gadgets.
  • Damn Im so focus buying the lumia 920 I forgot about the surface tablet... Oh lord I'm really excited.. Its been 4 years since I have a laptop...
  • So that's what a "Holiday Pop Up Store" is?  I thought it was going to be an actually store (like with 3 walls).  Anyways, this actually draw more attention.  I can totally imagine a people crowding around this tiny booth trying out the surface and clogging up the mall.  I'm just curious how they will be able to store enough surfaces in the tiny little booth to fulfill the demand. 
  • Same, This crap reminds me of stupid sunglasses carts in malls. If these are the pop up stores then FAIL. Microsoft would have to be stupid to make a stupid little POS like this in NYC since there are a lot more people there.
    EDIT: I checked the job description for a manger position at the NYC store and it says that there will be 30 or more product advisors and 6-10 assitants so the NYC location may be a full store.
  • Lol. You realize that these are just for the holiday season, right? They're still aggressively building legitimate full sized stores everywhere they can. This is just to get some holiday advertising because it isn't physically possible for them to create a full store in every mall across America within the next 30 days. Lighten up a little.
  • I'm pretty sure they could place orders for one, without needing to hold vast amounts of stock. We have the technology!
  • Awesome concept, nice presentation! This takes the pressure out of window shopping (puns....), you can just look over while you wander the mall. I hope to see one of these in a mall near me!
  • WPCentral really needs a +1 or a "Like" button for comments...
    +1 btw!
  • +1
  • +1
  • +1
  • Exactly how will Microsoft deal with the huge change in Windows coming this month? These kiosks will be selling only the Surface RT before Christmas, which won't run a single Windows 7 program. And they have to sell or promote WP8. Other mall phone kiosks just want to move as many Android phones as they can, they're not going to waste selling time explaining WP8 to customers.
  • My company's Auntie Anne's Pretzel kiosks outsell our in-line stores nearly 3-to-1, because they're always located in heavy traffic spots, and the smaller sizes keeps them more efficient. Those of you voicing criticism quite frankly don't know jack shit about retail sales. Quite frankly, I think it's great to get your product out in front of people, and I'm glad to have a couple stores (kiosk or otherwise) within driving distance.
  • Absolutely. I am actually surprised at how brilliant a move MS made here.
  • I can agree in the sense that it can gain more attention from heavier traffic, but buying a pretzel is a spur of the moment decision, you don't just walk by a kiosk one day and say "I'm going to buy a tablet, right now".
  • No but someone might be on their way to buy an iPad and stop by to get lured away from the Dark Side.
  • And yet how many phone kiosks do you see in a mall? They must work, or they wouldn't be there.
  • Thank you. I'm glad someone said it. The kiosks are an excellent idea and combined with the vivid colors of the tablet and new logo will attract plenty of people.
  • I also hope that there will be billboards displaying in various locations at the mall and pointing in the direction of the kiosks.
  • The kiosk is great. We must remember that it will get tons of traffic and the surface units are extremely attractive. Any lack of stock can be remedied by getting visitors to order from online store and have it delivered. I'm sure there will be Windows Phones in display too.
  • These pop up stores are gonna sell the crap out of Surface RTs....especially if they are the now rumored $349.  I need to head to the mall and see if they have ours up yet. 
  • This is great now all they need are small adverts all over the mall saying "You want a Surface? Follow the arrows". And, of course, there will be arrows showing them the way to the kiosk where they'll meet the Surface.
  • Definitely seems to be Surface-only. Check out the website for the shops at Columbus Circle (in New York City).
  • The beauty of these is that they can ship them in and ship them out.  Quality image and uniformity.  No crappy looking temporary store that is spot where a KB Toys went of business.
  • You guys are hilarious! Do YU think you know more about marketing that a multinational, multibillion-dollar company? Do you know how much market research went into these kiosks, and their strategic placement? The highest-volume Apple Store, in St. Louis, inks in that mall. That's why they put it there. I do t think they looked at the Apple Store, and said, "Meh, two baby kiosks, a couple high school kids, and only enough product, to fill the kiosk, should be enough!" They WILL have a separate, "backroom," for stock, and TRAINED staff aplenty, I'm sure. The look, of them is great, and as a St. Louisian, im happy that it will be there, so I know know exactly what the place I will purchase my Surface, look like! I'll be getting my WP8 from at&t, so, so I'm not concerned that they won't be there. Plus, geniuses, where would they get activated??? These kiosks are there to sell surfaces, and push the BRAND AWARENESS, of Windows 8, and MS. That's all. They are not trying to satisfy all your fanboi needs, with these. If it makes sense, then they will add full-retail locations, at a later date, for that, if there is a demand. So, if you like, these kiosks scream, "if you want more, of this, then demand it, and we will come."
  • +1 to you my friend!
  • +1000
  • I hope they put one of these in the Dallas Galleria Mall! We need a full Microsoft Store badly bit the kiosk would definitely give me something to drool over while my wife is Christmas shopping for me at Victoria's Secret!
  • I don't think the Dallas Galleria Mall will ever get an eventual store. I may ultimately be wrong but I believe MS is trying to put stores in malls or locations with Apple Stores. So my guess is that Stonebriar in Frisco would ultimately get a full store since they are getting a Holiday Pop Up store. I also think that ultimately Northpark Mall in Dallas would be the other likely store because it has a successful Apple Store there and it's one of the highest revenue generating mall in Dallas and in the south.
  • Just saying.. Small kiosks like this can store inventory elsewhere in the mall and therefore supply might not be a big deal
  • Any info on if they're hiring for these kiosks?
  • Stop moaning about the size. We'd settle for one of these anywhere outside the US, where there are no MS Stores, popup or otherwise. 
    Try comparing what you can buy from the MS Store online for US & UK. US=tablets, laptops, phones, xbox. UK=Mouse & keyboard.
    Hey Microsoft, come put one of these pop up stores in Braehead in Glasgow. It's right outside the Apple Store. It'd be bloody hilarious.
  • "stop moaning about the size" lol, I bet you say that to all the girls haha :P
  • Ah schlubadub you know the secret of me and my tiny weiner.
    No not tiny! It's like an iPhone 5. Long, thin, can't work out where it's menat to go, and is a big disappointment.
  • Are they putting one in Las Vegas, going at beginning of November and not sure how easy it will be buying a surface in the UK
  • By Holiday Stores, do you mean Christmas?
  • A lot of peeps in the US have holidays over the Christmas period... They even say "happy holidays" to remain P.C. even though a vast majority of non-religious people can still say it and have it said to them without being offended :P
  • LOL that's true about the PC thing. I was wondering what could've triggered the question above and I realized in Europe, or at least in the UK, people say "I'm going out on a holiday" and that means they are taking a vacation.
  • There may be a PC component but it's because we have 4 major holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. So the time from end of October-January 2nd are referred to as the "Holiday season" for many of us. It's only after the first two holidays do people go on about the "P.C. war against Christmas" nonsense. And at least here in good ol' NY, we do have a lot of diversity, including a large Jewish population who aren't down with Christmas ;)
  • Gotchu... Suppose it's a long holiday season in The US from end of October with thanksgiving... I can't count Halloween as a holiday though! Sure, it's all good fun. Happy Holidays!
  • eeeeeeeeeeeeee 22 days to go till it arrives!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Just make sure you save some MS for the Toronto store opening on Nov 16.
  • We need to get one of these in Wisconsin!  Looks pretty sleek :)
  • Haven't seen it yet, but the pop up here in Frisco, Tx seems to have a great location. Lower level, center court by the escalators. That should catch a lot of traffic during the holiday season. Just hope it leads to one here full time.
  • Do we have confirmation that there aren't different sizes or versions? Regardless, not every Mall will have the exact same sq. footage available and layouts will definitely be different. Maybe MS actually wants to make money and not just break even (or lose money) after paying rent for a bigger location.
    Basically what I'm trying to say is: CALM THE EFF DOWN AND STFU!!!!!!!
    If its not near you make a trip or order you stuff online. Stop being entitled whiners...
  • I know the picture here looks like they will only be selling the Surface Tablets but I spoke with a recruiter for Frisco, TX Stonebriar Centre planned pop store and was told that they would be training staff for these pop up stores on Surface and Windows Phone 8. 
  • microsoft is really holding everything till the last minute with the phones and surface considering no price points have even been revealed yet, much less full hands on with WP8 and the supposed hidden features
  • Just saw the same setup at Oakridge mall in Vancouver except there is no mention of Surface. I hope that does not mean they won't be selling the Surface tablet.