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    Around the Region

    Microsoft plans local holiday stores

    Microsoft Corp. is expanding its local retail footprint — at least for the holidays. The Redmond, Wash., software giant said Monday that it will open stores in Natick and Braintree this fall.

    The expansion follows Microsoft’s August opening of a store in The Shops at Prudential Center on Boylston Street — its first Boston store — and is part of its ongoing push into the retail marketplace to take on rival Apple Inc., which has 375 stores worldwide.

    Microsoft is expected to have 27 stores open across the United States by the end of September that sell computers, smartphones, tablets, and the company’s software. It will open at least an additional 30 holiday stores in the United States and Canada, including at the Natick Mall and South Shore Plaza in Braintree. The company did not say how long the stores will be open or how many employees it plans to hire.

    Michael B. Farrell

    Michael B. Farrell can be reached at