Microsoft Surface tablet pops up in U.K. retail store

The Surface RT tablet has finally ventured outside U.S. stores, arriving at British department store John Lewis.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Consumers in the United Kingdom can finally check out Microsoft's Surface tablet live and in person.

The RT-based tablet can now be found on the shelves of John Lewis, a well-known department store in the U.K., according to WPCentral.

Surface has been available at Microsoft Store outlets in the U.S., and just last week reached Staples and Best Buy. The tablet has also been available online through Microsoft in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, and Hong Kong.

Today's debut at John Lewis marks Surface's first time in a non-U.S. retail store. The store is selling the 32GB edition for 479 pounds ($776) and the 64GB version for 559 pounds ($905). Both models automatically include the Touch Cover rather than offering it as a separate option.

Surface seems to be in good hands at John Lewis, according to WP Central, which calls the retailer a "well-trusted" U.K. department store with knowledgeable staff and a good selection of products.

Microsoft hasn't shed any light on Surface sales since mid-November when CEO Steve Ballmer said they were off to a modest start.

Online sales can only go so far with a new device like Surface. People in the U.S. can try out the tablet for themselves at a Microsoft Store, Best Buy, or Staples. But consumers in Europe will need more outlets where they can see and work with Surface if Microsoft expects to generate healthy sales abroad.

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