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Apple to give its stores a Mini Me look

The Mac maker has big plans to expand its network of retail outlets by creating small versions of its stores.

After dreaming up big plans for its network of retail stores, Apple Computer is starting to think small.

The Mac maker plans to expand its network of retail outlets by creating a mini version of the Apple store. Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer confirmed on Wednesday's earnings conference call that the company plans to open six of the smaller stores.

Oppenheimer said the smaller stores will allow Apple to reach more people in more places, but did not offer many details.

The company has scheduled a press briefing Thursday at one of the outlets--at a mall near Stanford University, just a stone's throw from an existing retail outlet in downtown Palo Alto, Calif.

Since opening its first stores in May 2001, Apple has experimented with bigger-than-average stores, opening "flagship" outlets in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, among other locales. The company also has expanded overseas, opening stores in Japan and planning an outlet for London.

The stores are a growing source of the company's revenue. As part of its better-than-expected earnings announcement Wednesday, Apple said its retail sales nearly doubled from a year earlier, with quarterly revenue of $376 million.