Microsoft store Times Sq NY 2012 2
Sales staff demonstrate the Microsoft Surface at Microsoft's retail store in New York's Times Square. Reuters

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), the No. 1 software company, said its new retail store network had been a holiday success and that at least six more will open soon.

With 51 permanent and temporary stores opened in the last year, the Redmond, Wash., company said six more, mostly in the Western U.S., will open in early 2013.

“We know our store associates are making an impact when our customers continually express appreciation for how our stores offer the opportunity to interact with Microsoft products,” said Jonathan Adashek, general manager for communications with the sales and marketing group.

Microsoft opened the stores to help push its new Surface tablet, as well as Windows 8 OS, as a means to compete with the more than 400 retail stores previously opened by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which are among the world's most profitable for any retailer.

Adashek, though, didn't disclose sales for the current quarter, which will likely be announced next month, when Microsoft reports second-quarter results.

Four of the open Microsoft stores are in Canada, with the rest in the U.S.

The new U.S. venues are Miami; Beachwood, Ohio; St. Louis; San Antonio; Salt Lake City and San Francisco, the company said. It didn't say which temporary stores will be converted to permanent ones.

Shares of Microsoft rose 6 cents to $27.12 in Wednesday trading.