AT&T's Chicago store features app lounge, lifestyle boutique

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AT&T's (NYSE:T) new 10,000-square-foot flagship store on Chicago's Michigan Avenue isn't just intended as a place to sell lots of smartphones. Instead, the company designed the store, which opened Sept. 1, as a showcase for the latest products available today and planned for tomorrow.

During a recent media tour of the facility, Kent Mathy, president of AT&T's North Central Region, noted that the store's goal is to bring AT&T's brand to life and have the customer walk in and understand exactly what AT&T is doing.

The store has themed areas such as "Street Smart," which is devoted to navigation and safe driving; "Jam Session," which shows consumers how to download and stream music; and "Family Life," which demonstrates how users can manage their home and family with AT&T's connected devices. 

But the store, which draws a lot of tourists as well as locals, also sells a lot of smartphones. In fact, Mathy said that on the day Apple's iPhone 5 went on sale, the Chicago flagship store sold 10 times more iPhone 5 smartphones than any other AT&T store in the United States.

Nevertheless, Mathy admits that a store like this cannot be measured by the typical metrics to determine the success of a retail store. "We can't measure success based upon the usual model," Mathy said. "We want people to learn from the experience."

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