Per Think Secret....http://www.rumortracker.com/framesets/thinksecret/index.html Apple retailers in Australia say that the company is planning to open at least one of its own retail stores there next year. It's unknown as to how many stores the company plans to open. Currently, the company's international initiative for its retail chain can be described as experimental at most. At a Q&A session with analysts following Macworld Expo/New York in July, Apple executives explained that the company's efforts will consist of "pilot programs" outside the United States. After seeing what works for Apple retail stores on the international level, executives explained, the company will be in a better position to evaluate future possibilities and move forward. It appears that the Australia retail effort will be in line with this plan. As in the US, the advent of Apple stores isn't entirely welcome from independent resellers. As the company rolls out its outlets, it will also tighten the reigns on AppleCentre retailers, enforcing higher sales targets as requirements for keeping the AppleCentre status. One reseller in particular has started selling off a few of its stores to lessen the upcoming load. "As if we don't have enough trouble competing with our own suppliers through e-trading," commented one Australian reseller who fears Apple's retail entry. "Now they want to weigh us down even more with SOHO stores that don't have to consider the margins we do." The company will also be hitting Canada with its international retail experiments, sources say. One possibility mentioned is the Vaughan Mills mall, set to open in 2004 just north of Toronto, Ontario. Representatives for Vaughan Mills did not respond to requests for comment, but if true, the Apple store would likely open with the mall. In July, MacPlus reported that Apple would open a Netherlands store in Amsterdam targeted toward consumers. An Apple Netherlands spokeswoman told CNET News.com, however, that the store would not, unlike Apple's US stores, be called the "Apple Store." Glad to see they are finally going to expand past the U.S. with the Apple Stores.