UPDATE 2-Apple Watch to hit retail stores on June 26

Thu Jun 4, 2015 12:58pm EDT
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June 4 (Reuters) - Apple Inc said it would start selling some models of its watch at its retail stores this month, and also roll out the gadget in seven more countries.

The watch has been on display in Apple stores around the world since April 10, when it became available for preorder online and at shops including trendy fashion boutiques in Paris, London and Tokyo.

Apple had directed people to order online, preventing long queues around its stores that have become a norm with the company's rollout of new products.

"We believe making the Apple Watch available for customers to purchase at an Apple retail store will drive increased sales volumes," Cantor Fitzgerald analysts wrote in a note.

The company said all orders, except one model, placed through May would be shipped to customers within two weeks.

"The response to Apple Watch has surpassed our expectations in every way," said Jeff Williams, senior vice president of operations. "We're also making great progress with the backlog of Apple Watch orders."

The company has not given any sales figures for the watch since it began taking orders, but has often said demand was outstripping supply.

"We believe the company has made significant progress in reducing its backlog as production ramps," S&P Capital IQ analyst Angelo Zino said in an email.   Continued...