Apple will open up to 40 more retail stores this year and will extend its retail push overseas, a senior company executive confirmed yesterday.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference, Apple's chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer confirmed the retail expansion would continue at a "measured and controlled pace", with "around ten" stores slated to open outside the US by the end of the year.

“In this last year, we’ve been investing in the stores, and I continue to see us wanting to do that to make them into a great place for customers,” he stressed.

Right now, the company has international retail outlets across the UK, four in Canada and seven in Japan. It has been reported that Italy and Rome are also on the shortlist for new retail outlets this year.

“You’ll see us open in additional countries in the not-too-distant future," he said, confirming himself to be "very, very happy with the financial performance," of the stores.

He explained that setting up retail stores outside the US tends to "take a little more time" than in the US. He pointed out that these stores tended to require negotiations with more landlords than in the US, and also observed the company's need to be careful to situate its international shops in the right places.

You can hear Oppenheimer's complete speech to analysts in QuickTime format here.