A top-level appointment by Apple reinforces recent rumours that it is seeking to open a series of retail outlets in selected cities worldwide.

According to Apple sources, the company has hired Allen Moyer as vice president of real estate, construction and facilities. He comes from Sony Retail entertainment. Moyer is also a veteran of Walt Disney, directing the design and construction of EuroDisney and MGM Studios.

One Apple watcher said: "The appointment of Moyer lends credibility to recent reports that Apple is set to revamp the way it sells its products in the retail sector."

The flagship projects for the revamp are said to be destined for trial in the Expo-less UK.